Down with a resounding bang comes the wrath of that great moral institution, the National Basketball Association, upon the noggin of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Boo! Hiss! Get the hook! And once you’ve paid your $2.5 million fine, Sterling, for the offense of lax language during a private conversation, why don’t you just die? That would be the tone and tempo of Sterling coverage in the media at the close of April. The New York Times took time out from lamenting the conservative agenda, such as it is, to ask, editorially, “Why Did the N.B.A. Long Tolerate Sterling?” Inevitably, the country’s No. 1 basketball fan, Barack Obama, weighed in from Malaysia, as to the continuing effects of race and slavery.
Yessir, yessir, we stomped that sucker Sterling all right: big fine, lifetime ban from the NBA, the works. All we have to do now is clean up the resultant damage to the right of free speech—a right unavailable, it would seem, even in private conversations, to adherents of particular viewpoints.
The viewpoint in question—Sterling’s, which can be summarized as a low opinion of blacks—is certainly antique and philosophically gawky, especially in one whose basketball team comprises mostly black players.
Does that mean it’s illegal for Sterling to like what he likes and dislike what he doesn’t like? ...