Five months ago, the NBA took away Donald Sterling’s franchise because of thoughts expressed during a private telephone conversation. And now the owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Bruce Levenson, must sell his controlling interest in the team because of thoughts expressed in an email written two years ago (see here). America’s privately operated liberal police state is on quite a roll.
Levenson’s email addressed the team’s attendance problems and questioned whether the NBA’s focus on hip-hop culture might turn away suburban whites. Which is all perfectly reasonable – it doesn’t take a marketing genius to understand that aggressive, tattooed, loud, belligerent, and misogynistic posturing might not have universal appeal. When creating and selling a product, any legitimate marketing study would address cultural and demographic factors.
In the real world, failing to consider these factors would constitute malpractice. But in the NBA’s bizarro world, considering cultural factors is now a crime. And Levenson actually informed the league himself about the email (see here). No need for surveillance or neighborhood informants under the new repression – citizens are now intimidated to the point where they will inform on themselves. And Levenson followed up with a pathetic, groveling confession/apology. Stalin, Mao, and Orwell’s Big Brother society couldn’t have done better.
The operators of this police state seem to understand that punishing people for speech and thoughts contradicts the values upon which America was built. Not that it bothers them much, but it doesn’t look good, so they have to fake it and speak instead of no-tolerance policies against “discrimination” or of combating “discrimination.” Such claims are rubbish, however, since the Levenson and Sterling cases obviously have nothing to do with any kind of actual discrimination.
Danny Ferry, the Hawks’ general manager has also been targeted for punishment (see here). While apparently reading from a scouting report on Luol Deng, Ferry made an ill-advised racial comment during a call with the team’s ownership group. Springing into action, the team hired an Atlanta law firm to conduct an investigation. The firm reviewed 24,000 documents, interviewed 19 people, and “read every email that Danny Ferry has ever sent” as general manager of the team.
This inquisition unearthed only one bad thought from Ferry (i.e., the comment about Deng), but that didn’t stop one of the team’s co-owners from recommending that Ferry be fired or asked to resign. The team decided not to take this advice, but to discipline Ferry instead, although he is now on an indefinite leave of absence. Perhaps re-education is in order, after which the NBA will allow a “rehabilitated” Ferry to return to the team and society. I think the league outsources rehab to the North Koreans.
Not to be outdone, the NFL has joined the party with its treatment of Ray Rice. Of course, Rice assaulted his fiancé (now his wife) and was indicted for the assault, so his action goes beyond mere thoughts and speech. As a first time offender, the district attorney offered Rice a standard deal that will require him to undergo counseling after which the charges against him will be dismissed, assuming good behavior during a probationary period.
The NFL’s original two game suspension of Rice may have been lenient, but it was based on the disposition of the criminal case so it was not entirely unreasonable. But then by retracting the original punishment and suspending Rice indefinitely, the league displayed its own oppressive inclinations that rival those of the NBA.
In dealing with Rice, the NFL created policy after the fact and applied it retroactively, and it handed down one punishment only to take it back and replace it with something more severe. One advantage of a privately operated police state is that it need not worry about concepts that restrain government, you know, things like ex post facto laws and double jeopardy.
Although the NFL’s original punishment of Rice had a reasonable basis, don’t try to tell that to liberals. Not satisfied with stripping Rice of his livelihood, liberals now seek to punish league Commissioner Roger Goodell for his original leniency. Liberals have become hysterical as the controversy is coming more and more to resemble something between a lynch mob and a witch hunt.