Sterling case puts privacy at issue - The Buffalo News
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Sterling case puts privacy at issue

This isn’t about the right or wrong of Donald Sterling, the billionaire bigot who owns the Clippers. It’s not about the First Amendment, either, because Sterling has every right to express his views however he chooses. It’s not even about racism, which remains very much alive.

Sterling deserved lifetime banishment from the NBA for making racist remarks because he’s an owner. He’s a representative of the league and its longest-tenured owner. The NBA cannot tolerate one of its own thinking that way, let alone speaking that way. He should have been gone years ago.

People like me who wanted him stripped of ownership, who never wanted to see him inside an NBA arena, who chastised him, should best proceed with caution and remember that his private comments were secretly recorded and passed along for public consumption. That was dirty, too.

It’s the one aspect of this Sterling mess, other than his comments, that makes me uncomfortable. He’s nauseating, but his rights to privacy were basically ignored in the public’s quest to condemn him. Can you imagine if your private conversations were available for the public shredder?

While I applauded the public outrage, the punishment handed down by Adam Silver and support from key figures in sports and beyond, there also was a part of me that wondered if his harshest critics ever made a private remark that would have left them ostracized if made public.

And while I do view Sterling as a racist and believe Magic Johnson is the furthest thing from one, I also wonder if Magic ever made derogatory remarks about people of other races during private conversations. Johnson is just an example.

But how many people who were offended by Sterling’s comments were guilty, but never convicted, of a similar crime? And how many people were offended by the breach of trust from his mistress?

To some degree, the way his comments were revealed takes away from the message about him. The message should be that he’s a pathetic person. It would be a shame if he somehow came away a sympathetic figure.

Miller’s value takes hit

It’s easy to look back now, but Ryan Miller may have better served his career if he remained in Buffalo and preserved his reputation as a top-notch goaltender for a terrible team.

Miller wasn’t anywhere near good enough in the playoffs for the Blues, who acquired him to push them over the top. Instead, he lost nine of his final 11 games, including the final four playoffs to the Blackhawks. He had a 2.70 goals-against average and .897 save percentage before a first-round exit.

In his 19 games with the Blues during the regular season, he had a 2.47 GAA and .903 SP. His save percentage during his tenure with the Blues was lower than any season in Buffalo in which he played more than 15 games.

Miller turns 34 in July. If he was expecting a long-term deal for big money – say five years for $35 million – he might want to think again.

Better excuse needed

Sorry, but Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston has to come up with something better than “a moment of youthful ignorance” and suggesting that he simply “forgot to pay” before dining and dashing at Publix.

Winston was cited for shoplifting after feasting on $32.72 worth of crab legs and crawfish and walking out of the grocery store. He was suspended from the Florida State baseball team and is looking at 20 hours of community service, which in Tallahassee is described as “football practice.”

“I make no excuses for my actions and will learn and grow from this unfortunate situation,” Winston said. “I hope and pray my friends and family will view me as the 20-year-old young man that I am.”

Toddlers swiping suckers from the candy lane can be chalked up to youthful ignorance. College students tend to “forget” when they’re busted for something stupid. Winston was questioned in separate incidents last year, one about stealing pop from Burger King and another about an alleged BB gun fight.

Ollie to the Lakers?

Kevin Ollie talked about planting himself in Connecticut after retiring from the NBA, but he looks like the early favorite and a natural choice to replace Mike D’Antoni as coach of the Lakers.

Ollie, whose stock soared after guiding the Huskies to an NCAA championship, is only a few years removed from the league and would be a terrific hire. He played for 11 teams over his 13 years in the NBA and was considered coaching material long before his career ended.

That’s how he stayed in the league that long. He started only 100 games and never averaged more than 6.5 points per game. However, he was respected so much for his leadership and intelligence that teams kept finding room for him before he retired in 2010 and joined Jim Calhoun at UConn.

If it were any other NBA gig, he wouldn’t be as tempted. Ollie graduated from Crenshaw High in Los Angeles before playing college ball for UConn.

Stats Inc.

20 – Turnovers through five games for Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant, who had the same number of assists in a first-round series against Atlanta.

10,000 – Victories in franchise history for the Dodgers after their win over the Twins. The Dodgers, who were 38 wins ahead of the Yankees, joined the Giants, Braves and Cubs as the only teams with that many.

12 million – Dollars that Donald Sterling paid in 1981 for the Clippers, who are now worth an estimated $575 million.

Quick hits

• Former Buffalo Braves great Bob McAdoo, an assistant coach with the Heat, remembered late coach Jack Ramsay for being ahead of his time. “We could get the ball up and down the court,” McAdoo said. “We talk about the Lakers and Showtime, but we had Showtime in Buffalo with Dr. Jack. It was very fun playing with him.”

• Jonathan Quick had a rough start to the postseason, but he looked like he regained his Conn Smythe-winning form in four straight wins over the Sharks. If you remember 2012, Quick allowed two goals or fewer in 17 of 20 postseason games and had three shutouts en route to the Stanley Cup.

• Yankee fans had some nerve chanting “sell-out” to Robinson Cano during his return to the Bronx. They conveniently ignore the Yanks spending big on free agents. What can’t be ignored are empty seats behind home plate in Yankee Stadium, which has been taken over by suits who can’t handle cold weather.


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