Did Donald Sterling, a known racist, deserve a right to privacy?

Did Donald Sterling, a known racist, deserve a right to privacy?

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[Guest writer Paul Shepard offers his views on Donald Sterling, and his right to privacy]

You would have thought Donald Sterling killed somebody.

In fact, I’ve seen murderers get more love than the universally despised owner of the Los Angeles Clippers did Saturday when his racist recording came to public light.

By now we have heard from the world’s most powerful man (President Barack Obama), the world’s most important athlete (Lebron James) and every talking head from the sports world and beyond tell us how the recording of Sterling mean-mouthing black people to his…ahem…”girlfriend” means he has to leave the cozy colony of NBA owners.

Better yet, they said, he should just jump off the planet and take his racist views with him.

I get that. You can’t get caught spitting on the very people who are lining your pockets.

But is anyone the least bit concerned about exactly how the recording came about?

The man was talking to his mistress in what he thought was a private conversation between the two.

I haven’t heard the full explanation of who actually released the recording. But don’t we all have a reasonable expectation that what we say to someone, whether we share a bed with them or not, won’t be broadcast around the world (NSA eavesdropping scandal aside).

It’s not as if Sterling held a press conference to air his racist views – like that other racist yahoo Cliven Bundy did in the Nevada desert recently when asking if black people would be better off if still in chains.

Maybe it’s different for you but I know I wouldn’t want my private conversations with friends to become the fodder for public consumption and examination.

Yes, now that this has all come to light, it would be best if Sterling gave up his franchise. Yes, he is a nasty guy who I wouldn’t want to have dinner with even if he did drop his ban on associating with black people.

But what’s being lost in all the heat and emotion over what Sterling said is the fact that even racist billionaires have the right to expect privacy when talking to someone they consider a friend.