The exquisite sin of this two-time NAACP Lifetime Achievment Awardee has been that, having espied his mistress publicly accompanied by men other than himself, suffered the umbrage of all married men apparently being dissed by their mistresses and vented infelicitously regarding her behavior. In the course of this, he naturally mentioned those in whose company she had been seen and marked their most salient characteristic. Now, this venting was in a private conversation, but someone (presumably not the NSA) recorded it and distributed it to various publicity organs, in consequence of which the mistress' Q-score was increased from zero to a wee but positive number.
Because Sterling owns a professional basketball team, the management of the league sprang into instant moral preening lest they be declared full of Sterling cooties and therefore pinko com-symps, or whatever the term of art is today for guilt-by-association. Since the NBA honcho is named Adam Silver, we have the delightful pleasure of discussing the Sterling-Silver kerfuffle.
Nonetheless, the proposed penalties include banishment for life from all league games and the forced sale of his franchise. (It's not clear that the latter is legal, but it will be done, one way or another.)
The whole affair is an indicator of how far we must stretch today to find outrageous racist conduct. ("You call that racism? Why, sonny, when I was your age...") Those of us who passed through the fire in the 1960s remember on clear days public behaviors that make Donald Sterling's worst utterances seem like compliments. Nowadays, someone who donates heavily enough to the NAACP to earn two lifetime achievement awards can become a racist with a few emotionally-chosen outbursts.
Now, compare the obloquy and penalties exacted on an old phart who thought his mistress was dating anything but his money and compare that to the case of running back Ray Rice, who in an argument with his girlfriend, apparently knocked her unconscious and was videotaped by casino security cameras dragging her inert body from the elevator.
Will Rice be banned from football for life? Will he be forced to relinquish his property? Will he be forced to make apologies to all woman-kind? Don't hold your breath. Instead, we have been urged to withhold judgement "until all the facts are in." At which time we will presumably be told that it's OK to knock your girlfriend unconscious under some provocations. (She spit on him.)
Is the lesson that violence against women is a lesser sin than snappishly telling one not to date other men, at least when the other men are black? That words are worse than fists?
One is immediately struck (metaphorically, not in a Rice-like manner) by the thought that if Sterling had not had a mistress in the first place, but had held true to his marriage vows, he would not be in hot water today. And even Rice, had he turned the other cheek and "set his face like flint", would not be embroiled in even so minor a peccadillo as assault and battery. But both men insisted on whittling the stick with which others then switched them. They engaged their passions rather then their intellect. Go figure.