NBA Donald Sterling Ban Shows Why America Is A Nation Of Laws

The question of whether the lifetime ban of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was tackled in a previous Undercover Porcupine article, titled “Was The NBA Right To Ban Donald Sterling.” Now to further expand on the topic, why due process is important.

Donald Sterling is a deplorable human being, there won’t be any argument about that. He’s an angry racist who clearly judges individuals based on their skin color, instead of upon individual merits.

The next question is whether it is fair or not.

That may seem like an unfair question to ask, given the conduct in question. Sterling was upset over someone being seen in public with individuals of a different color.

The other side? It was a secret recording without the consent or knowledge of the individual being recorded.

Would this be permissible in a court of law?

To be clear, the NBA is a private organization. As a private business, they have the ability to fire who they see fit for whatever reason. In this case, purging Sterling in a clearly emotional response to a growing outrage from the sport and its fans.

This also shows us why laws are important in America.

In the post-9/11 world, America has become more open to the idea of prosecuting individuals without due process of law. If someone is deemed a “terrorist” without due process of law, their further due process of law can be revoked. Both the current president and his predecessor have claimed the power to indefinitely detain individuals without respect for the law.

It’s like the NBA.

And while it may seem like a clear solution when thinking emotionally, emotional thought tends to have little respect for the long-term implications.

This was the point Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made prior to the lifetime ban of Sterling announcement. When everyone attacked his concern about creating a bad precedent, this was the point he was trying to make.

In all reality, the sports free market would likely run Sterling out of town. Protests would mount outside of Clippers games, players would continue their inside-out clothing protest, media would increase the heat, and overall it would become a worsening nightmare.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is new and thus has pressure to not be weak. But realistically, something like this would not hold up in a court of law. This is important to remember, because due process will prevent bad precedents from creating a state of total lawlessness.

Sterling is a racist and is bad for the sport, that’s not being disputed. But like an accused criminal or even terrorist, there is a right to due process. The NBA is well within its rights to run its private organization how it deems appropriate, but it’s likely to create a bad precedent that will eventually come back to haunt owners.

Just as a bad legal precedent can come back to haunt Americans.

Chris Dixon

About Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon is a libertarian-leaning activist who is State Coordinator of the Maine Tenth Amendment Center and former Androscoggin County co-coordinator for the Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign. These thoughts are his own, and not on behalf of any organization he works for.