Oh the irony.
It was only a few weeks ago that America was lecturing the gay community about its intolerance for intolerance, for objecting to a bigot (in fact, an anti-gay activist, Brendan Eich) running a major American corporation (in this case, the Mozilla Foundation).
Republicans, including gay conservatives, were particularly upset that anyone would judge a man’s job performance, especially the man running a company, by his personal animus towards minorities, many of whom would be his own employees. So long as he didn’t discriminate against his own employees, he was free to be a bigot, they told us.
Now, they’re all eating crow.
Today, even conservatives are saying (on CNN) that the NBA simply must investigate whether the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, Donald Sterling, made racist remarks to his girlfriend, who is black and Mexican.
Apparently, Donald Sterling made the mistake of buying a basketball team rather than taking over a high-tech company.
TMZ posted an audio of a man alleged to be Sterling scolding his girlfriend about bringing African-American guests to basketball games. According to the audio, even famed basketball player Magic Johnson was an inappropriate “black man” to bring to a game. Here’s the transcript:
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” the man in the recording says. “You can sleep with [them]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
The recording also includes an admonition not to bring Magic Johnson either.
Magic Johnson weighed in on Twitter, seemingly hinting that Sterling should lose his job:
ESPN documents a lot of other official outrage.
Oh, where to begin.
It was only a hypothetical less than a month ago – the question, “what if” the guy running the company were a racist, or an anti-Semite? Would America still be so interested in defending his freedom of speech, and his “right” to run the company?
Today we got our answer. No one is running to Donald Sterling’s defense (though Cliven Bundy, another forgotten “free speech hero,” has yet to weigh in). No one is defending America’s “proud tradition” of defending the employment prospects of avowed racists. Nor should they. And even if, as Sterling alleges, the audio is a fake, America’s reaction to the audio was authentic, and universally critical.
There is some good news for Donald Sterling. I hear Mozilla is hiring.