Sterling and Sam: Say the Right Thing

By Hunter Ford

Two current sports-related news stories have been provoking strong emotions from the people following them.

First, the Donald Sterling situation:  Initially, it seemed unfair for Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA, to be so severely punished for a private conversation he had with his girlfriend.

Based on what I heard from that conversation, Sterling deserved a public reprimand, but he did not deserve to have ownership of the team taken from him.  There are many important issues in play here.  Is it fair to have a billion-dollar property (the team) taken away from a man because of a private conversation in which he said some unfortunate things?

Sterling didn’t use any slurs, only common terms.  The sentiments he expressed were clearly offensive, but, the whole sordid situation (an 80-year-old married man involved with a much younger woman) was disgusting.  To what extent should his private life have any bearing on his ownership of the team?  What happened next sealed his fate.

Sterling could have weathered this storm had he handled the fall-out differently.  Instead he goes on TV with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and digs a hole all the way to China.

Sterling’s private conversation had been partly inspired by Instagram pictures his girlfriend posted showing her with former NBA star Magic Johnson.   In his interview with Cooper, Sterling lashed out at Johnson.  Sterling said Johnson should be “ashamed” of himself for having AIDs (Johnson is HIV positive but does not have AIDS) and that Johnson should go “into the background.”  Sterling also asked rhetorically, “What has Magic Johnson ever done to give back to the community?”

Johnson actually has a great reputation as a businessman who invests in minority communities.  Johnson has handled the situation the way he used to handle behind-the-back passes on the court.  Sterling has given Johnson a major assist and Magic is taking it to the hoop for a slam dunk.  Magic Johnson is a  front-runner to be the next owner of the Clippers.

Then there is Michael Sam, the first openly gay man to be drafted into the NFL.  After being drafted by the St. Louis Rams, Sam was shown on ESPN kissing his boyfriend.  A Miami Dolphins defensive back, who Tweeted a disapproving remark, has been fined and is undergoing sensitivity training.

Sam is being touted by USA Today as “The most important player in the NFL.”

Homosexuals certainly should be afforded the same opportunities as the rest of the population in regard to work, housing, and freedom from discrimination in general.  The flip side of that coin is there are some people who have deep religious convictions that homosexuality is a sin.  Should those people have to be silent about their convictions?

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from these two stories.  Right, or wrong, one of those lessons is:  When confronted with sensitive subjects, make sure to say the right thing.  By the way, Alabama football coach Nick Saban was recently asked how he would approach having a gay athlete on his team.  Here is Saban’s response.  I believe he did a good job.

“I would expect everybody to be respectful of what is private for most people and treat that person with dignity and respect them for being a good teammate and being part of our team and doing the things that require them to be a good person on our team.  I can’t speak for everybody, but that’s what would be my expectation for the people we control in our organization and on our team.”



Add Yours
  1. 1
    The Conduit

    Sterling will make a 8300% profit from the sale of the Clippers. It’s hard to feel too bad for the billionaire turning into a multi-billionaire(?). He’s done a lot of bad, racially-motivated things over the last few decades, and the Clippers coming into their own (in particular while the Lakers look more like pre-2010 Clippers) couldn’t have been timed more perfectly, if there is such a consolation.

    As for Sam, it goes both ways. There’s a ton of speculation the Rams were pressured or even required to pick Sam. If the first openly gay player didn’t get drafted, it would have been a publicity nightmare for the NFL.

    It shouldn’t (necesarily) have been, but it would have been.

    In a world where Tom Brady gets drafted almost as late as Michael Sam and Mark Sanchez gets drafted in the first round, is it such a stretch to think Michael Sam isn’t an NFL-caliber talent?

    Personally, I think he is ready for the pros. He has the size and, at least from what I saw (particularly against SC and GA), he’s got the natural talent and enough learned skills to succeed. But I don’t pretend to understand the choices of pro football teams, not to mention the NFL itself. Great read, Hunter.

  2. 2

    “Should those people have to be silent about their convictions?”

    You don’t have to be silent about your convictions, but you also don’t have to make antagonizing statements about him and his lifestyle. Sometimes its best to just shut-up.

    I don’t understand people’s need to approve or disapprove of someone else’s life. Its THEIR life. It doesn’t need your approval. Its begninning to get like how Atheists treat Christians. Its not enough for them to NOT believe in God. They have to ridicule Christians, attack them for their beliefs and try to stop them from making any public displays of their faith simply because they don’t “approve” of their lifestyle.

    • 3

      And yet in your opinion I am a Racist because I indicated that led by a minority percentage of a certain ethnic group, the US has deteriorated into an unacceptable moral and criminal status, post JFK’s forced integration? Is it not My life and MY opinion. (Actually it is not my opinion, it is a statistical fact). According to your own words, even if I am wrong I don’t need your approval or disapproval. But you still attack me with ‘Racist”. So by proxy am I the Christian and you are the Athiest? Am I the straight and you are the Gay? Am I the Am I the White Majority and you are the Ethnic Minority? You can’t have it both ways. This country was founded on my right to say that I don’t like people who are black, brown, red, yellow, green from Mars, gay, stupid, white trash, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, Christian, Russian, N. Korean, Ugandan, etc. But now I can go to jail for saying it? Now I can lose my property for saying it? It’s popular to say that you don’t like N. Korean’s. It’s popular to say you don’t like certain African’s. It’s popular to say you don’t like certain Muslim’s. It’s popular to say you don’t like little green men. So the Government and special interest groups and liberals and individuals can pick and choose what I am free to say? They can condemn me and arrest me and liquidate my property for saying it? Is this the United States or is it Nazi Germany, Communist Russia or Red China? Unless someone is physically attacked and or harmed or endangered; neither the Government nor any organization or authority should have the right to castigate someone for their personal beliefs or for verbally expressing those belief’s. Should I mark you as a Bigot for calling me a Racist and then making the remarks that you did above? By the way, I agree with the Atheist-Christian thing you said.

    • 4

      One other thing. You state that a person should not make openly antagonizing statements in public? This all started because of something Sterling said to his girlfriend in private. Additionally, considering the stigma, what the hell do you call a football player kissing his boyfriend on national tv if not blatant and antagonizing.and with the intention of causing exactly the uproar that it has? Hell, the last kiss on national tv before that was AJ kissing Katherine. Sam is more to blame for this fiasco than anyone. And your statements are contradictory.

      • 5
        The Conduit

        He shouldn’t be afraid to kiss his partner, male or female. You make it controvertial. You do. Maybe we all do.

        The guy just got a half million dollar paycheck. If that’s not enough to make you feel like kissing someone, that’s even weirder.

        • 6

          I don’t make it controversial. And we’re not talking about me in the first place. We’re talking about Peachy and LMAO’s opinions of Sterling, Sams and what was said in this article. But more to the point, whether you or anyone else likes it or not; the subject of this article is CONTROVERSIAL. Especial for those of you here who claim to be Christian. You cannot be Christian (according to Biblical interpretation) and in any way condone Sams, or those like him. Very simple and irrefutable. Therefore it is Sams who is controversial. But I agree – if you are going to condone the freedom to be homosexual, then certainly Sams has the right to kiss his boyfriend. But we’re not talking about kissing his boyfriend per se. We are talking about when and where he kissed him, and the repercussions that choice caused. We are talking about the fact that what he did was unacceptable by the majority of Americans and he was fully aware of what the implications were. He did it on purpose. He was trying to shove it down the moral majority’s throat. No pun intended. LOL! So that is what is CONTROVERSIAL. I don’t care to get into an argument about the morality of Homosexuality, nor whether it is a choice, a sickness or a birth defect. This discussion is about the social repercussions caused by the controversial choice of one football player, (Sams). And we are talking about both the social and authoritative actions taken against an individual, (Sterling) for verbally expressing his feelings in privacy to his girlfriend – because lets face it, if no one had nosed into his private affairs, then he never would have been put in the position to open mouth and insert foot with the media. And that’s that.

  3. 7
    Hunter Ford


    You make a great point. On the flip side of that, I find it amusing when I see bumper stickers that say “I stand up for God.” The reason I find that amusing is God is well GOD, and he doesn’t need you or me as much as we need him. Just a thought. Are you still an Auburn fan or have I converted you? PEACE AND LOVE that’s my mantra.

  4. 9

    Truth in reporting is also very important. You are the most dangerous kind of person.

    Hunter you falsely write that “Sterling said Johnson should be “ashamed” of himself for having AIDS”.

    Sterling did say Magic should be ashamed, but he DID NOT say he “should be ashamed of himself for having AIDS” as you write and claim. Those were your false words not his.

    If that is your opinion as to what Sterling said, then report it as your opinion and not as fact as to what Sterling actually said. Why? Because unfortunately there are many stupid people out there who will believe everything they read and not actually go to the actual source of what is being reported on as I did. Sterling was talking about Magic’s lifestyle and how he got HIV just prior to making the statement that he should be ashamed. It is MY OPINION that Sterling was talking about Magic’s lifestyle, that resulted in him getting HIV that Magic should be ashamed of.

    Sterling’s exact words, in context, were “”What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about?” His next statement was then “”I think he should be ashamed of himself”.

    It is MY OPINION that Sterling was saying that Magic should be ashamed of his lifestyle that possibly caused him to become infected with HIV, and not that he should be “ashamed of having AIDS” as you falsely report him to have said.

    Everyone has a right to there opinion, and I respect your right to your opinion, if after reading Sterling’s comments your opinion was that Sterling was saying Magic should be ashamed of catching aids. But it is MY OPINION that someone writing an article for others to read and presuming to be reporting on something that has happened, should state when something is their opinion and not write it as fact as you did in this article.

    With regards to Michael Sam, why is he any more important than any other 7th round draft pick? Just because he is “openly” gay? My question, and problem with our liberal media, is why is he held out to be a hero or treated as more important for being openly gay, Tim Tebow was made fun of for being openly religious? Many playaers mocked Tebow’s open display of his faith by kneeling and giving thanks to his God, but not a single player was ever fined or sent to sensitivity class for there mockery of him. Yet make a comment about Sam’s openly gay kiss and the NFL is swift to fine you and the media is swift to call you out.

    That is all.

    • 10
      The Conduit

      Michael Sam came out as a gay man before the draft because everyone on his team in college, among many others, knew he was gay. As a result, he came out publicly before the draft so someone else didn’t try to “out” him later and make it an unnecessary scandal.

      It’s silly, but yes, sexuality is much more taboo than religion, particularly Christianty in the Tebow argument. Tebow may have been teased by some for his faith, but he also garnered legions of fans as a side effect.

      Praying isn’t taboo. A man kissing a man still is. Fining a guy for saying something about it may be one way to help make it less taboo. Don’t forget, the NFL is a business—-I may be allowed to say anything I want, but the company I work for can fine me if I say something bad about someone for all kinds of reasons. I don’t know what the tweet said that got the guy in trouble, maybe that’s another story, but we definitely haven’t heard the end of Michael Sam’s sexuality in the NFL.

      • 11

        Conduit the problem with our Country today and the cause of the fall of great nations in history is people like you! You say”Praying isn’t taboo. A man kissing a man still is. Fining a guy for saying something about it may be one way to help make it less taboo.”

        Well polygamy is still taboo in this country, sex with a minor is still taboo in this country and beastiality is still taboo in this country (with the possible exception of Alabama), but I guess you also think if we just start fining people who might say something about those acts might be one way to help make them less taboo also. I’m glad I don’t work for you or your company.

        And yes I understand those taboos that I mentioned are currently illegal and being gay is not. However I will remind you that abortion was once illegal, and it is still currently illegal in most states for couples of the same sex to marry and in many states sodomy is still illegal. I guess if you had your way companies and states should start fining people who say something against all or any of these things so that they could become less taboo also, until laws against them are overturned also. Right Condoit? Do you see the slippery slope this country’s morals are on because of the thinking and actions or lack there of by people like you Condoit?

        Don’t misunderstand me, the issue here is free speech, not who, what or how you have sex with someone or something. So to fine someone or force them to go to sensitivity classes for exercising there first amendment right in this country is wrong and possible actionable in my book. I don’t believe a business’s rights can or should supersede those of the constitution. It would be interesting to see what would happen if the player fined and made to go to sensitivity class refused to do so and was fired by the NFL. Perhaps unlike Sterling’s comments, I believe you would have a much harder time proving the Miami players brief comments hurt the NFL’s business.

        • 12

          When you voluntarily join a business or organization, you are then submitting a part of your rights to the business or organization. This is usually referred to in any contractual relationship you have with that organization or business – even fast-food chains have a statement that each employee must sign when they come on board. It is the same submission of your rights you make when you are in a public place, like a park or movie theater, that you won’t disrupt or otherwise cause trouble by “expressing” your rights to yell fire or use the bathroom on a tree. Free speech is still granted, but there are circumstances where you may suffer for utilizing that right in an inappropriate situation or location. The Dixie Chicks had every right in the world to disparage President Bush while on a European tour – no one had any right or authority to stop them from expressing their views – but there was a commercial punishment for them from their legions of fans who disagreed with their opinion, and they suffered losses of revenue and popularity as a result. Owners in the NBA and members of the NFL make similar agreements with their respective organizations that they will not take actions which cause those organizations to look bad in public, and those organizations have the authority and the will to punish those that do so. No one has infringed on their right to free speech, but one of the things that many, if not most, people forget – there are consequences for every action, whether that action was meant nobly or criminally. We are all responsible for the things we say and do, and no set of “rights” takes that responsibility away from each and every person.

    • 13

      Now this is a truly interesting post and dialogue.

      My teenage daughter sent me this link on one bloggers view of Michael Sam….

      It hits on one of LMAOs points about the treatment of Tebow. It’s a good read.

      Also, in regard to Hunter’s statement that Sterling said Magic should be ashamed for having AIDS, I believe that is what Magic said that Sterling said when he was interviewed by ESPN to get his comments on Sterling’s interview. A may be wrong but I think remember Magic saying something to the effect “Sterling said I should be ashamed of having AIDS, I don’t have AIDS I have HIV and I have done a lot for the black community.”

      • 14
        The Conduit

        It’s a decent argument, albeit the author neglected to research some important relevant facts and instead assumed Sam was simply being selfish when he came out.

        Bottom line, there’s no easy answer. If Sam wasn’t drafted, the NFL would have been beaten over the head. Since he was drafted, it’s for the wrong reasons some argue, and although the NFL seemingly had a plan to deal with any (one) controversy that arose, that plan doesn’t really look like the best avenue.

        Like I said before though, it’s their business, and therefore it’s their rules. Doesn’t make it right, but I’m sure the same can be said for a lot of things a lot of businesses do, including the NFL.

    • 15

      I thought Sam’s kissing another guy was gross. That is my opinion. Nothing I can do about it, so I just have to TOLERATE it. Hell, I have to tolerate a lot of things that piss me off.

      The Dolphins player and who tweeted basically the same opinion, gets fined and has to take some sensitivity training. Other players have been effectively silenced on the issue in fear of retribution and punishment.

      Who’s being intolerant?

      • 16
        The Conduit

        You think men kissing men is gross.

        I think dirty diapers are gross.

        Anchovies are gross.

        Auburn’s gross. So gross.

        I’m sure some people think a white person kissing a black person is gross.

        So yes, a business is being intolerant of speech against things that would be considered hate crimes if any action was taken.

        You’re not employed by that business. You can say what you want. The NFL can tell its partners what they’re not allowed to say. Frankly, I’m surprised, maybe even impressed with the NFL here.

        That doesn’t mean it’s fair, but good grief, it’s the 21st century, men kiss men and wear hipster jeans and toilet paper wires and it’s time to get over it.

        • 17

          “but good grief, it’s the 21st century, men kiss men and wear hipster jeans and toilet paper wires and it’s time to get over it.”

          What am I suppose to get over? That is what “Tolerate” is…you don’t like it, never will, but you move on with your life.

          Usually, what gets people angry and resentful is when others try to force it on you and then get mad at you for not liking it. We don’t all have to like or agree with the same thing.

          BTW, if the Muslim population in this country continues to grow, then the homosexuals will really know what intolerance is about. Christians may not like it, but they will not collectively try to kill you for it.

          • 18
            The Conduit

            K, that doesn’t make Muslims right for it just because they become more popular.

            It’s the 21st century, men kiss men and wear hipster jeans and toilet paper wires and it’s time to get over it. Not just you, by the way.

          • 19

            I know what you are saying Conduit, and I understand your opinion. As far as homosexuality, most Christians will not accept it. Doesn’t mean they are backwards or intolerant, it is strictly based on their faith.

            If there is anything to “get over”, it is the fact that many people will never agree with the Gay and Lesbian “LifeStyle”. So what?…. get over it.

          • 20
            The Conduit

            But again, it’s the 21st century.

            People have changed.

            They have.

            People’s views, particularly Christians, have changed regarding immigration, interracial marriage, and even gays and lesbians. It doesn’t change what they consider a sin, but the level of acceptance has rapidly changed in the past two decades.

            My grandmother didn’t accept the Simpsons, a cartoon TV show, because of her spritual beliefs. Next thing you know, she’s in a class at her church studying the Simpsons because the Simpsons themselves actually go to church, pray in the show, etc.

            People change and grow, including Christians (albeit not all of them), and until the stigma wears off it’s a problem of tolerance. We still haven’t reached the point in our society where race is 100% accepted. Sexuality is even more taboo by nature, which is why it’s all the more important for leaders to promote tolerance for it.

            I know people who have lost their jobs, even their homes, because of their sexuality. People can and will change.

        • 21

          Condoit why don’t you just come out of the closet already?

          Are you not “brave” like Sam?

          Just say Condoit, Like Sam I am! LMAO

          • 22
            The Conduit

            See LMAO, that’s the difference between jokes and bigotry.

            It’s unreal. Seriously, sometimes I don’t think you’re real, or that you couldn’t really mean the things you say.

            But then I realize nobody would say stuff like that just to be a troll. It’s disgusting.

            I’m not gay. But I know plenty of gay people who have suffered at the hands of people like you. Way to represent your culture. You make me sick.

          • 23

            Conduit are you gay or homophobic?

            My post did not say anything mean, hateful or bigoted. It simply asked you to come out of the closet and quit hiding the fact that you are gay. It asked you to be brave.

            If you are not gay then your visceral reaction to my simple question proves you are homophobic.

            So which one is it Conduit? Are you gay or homophobic?

          • 24
            The Conduit

            You really have no idea how bad of a person you are to be able to say things like that.

            That’s what makes you a bigot.

            You asked me to “come out of the closet” for supporting the idea that people shouldn’t be afraid to. I’m not gay, but you can’t see me as anything but gay for supporting it because you don’t.

            And you ask if I’m the homophobic one…

            You really don’t get it, do you? I get that you’re trolling just for the sake of being a creep, but the problem is I can’t tell if you’re ever serious, and as a result you say terrible racist and homophobic things, then you try to defend them because you are so blinded by your hate for Alabama.

            It’s disgusting. It’s pathetic. Oh well, that’s your culture.

          • 25

            Hey Conduit here is a serious question for you. You are on this site quite often, so I know you have read the vile and vulgar things that your fellow gump, Crimsonite has posted on here, yet I have never seen you reply to any of his post here condemning the vile things he says like you have mine. Why is that? Does he get a pass because he is a bama fan and fellow gump? Or are you just a hypocrite?

          • 26
            The Conduit

            Look harder then. Again, you make these judgmental, biased assumptions, but yes, I’ve called him out before for his filthiness, absolutely.

            The difference is you were explicitly arguing against it (did he say Alabama won’t play a quarterback because he’s black or just you?), and now you’re saying it’s ok for you to do because someone else does it? Disgusting.

    • 27
      Hunter Ford


      If Sterling didn’t mean Magic Johnson should be ashamed of himself for being promiscuous and contracting HIV, then what did he think Magic Johnson should be ashamed of? Sterling is wrong about Magic not “giving back” to his community, and he was incorrect when he said Magic has AIDS. Anderson Cooper tried to correct Sterling a couple of times on the HIV-AIDS and “what has Magic Johnson done?” comments.

      Magic, long ago, addressed his former lifestyle and his regrets about it. The more I hear about Sterling the less, I like, so the NBA should take away his ownership. As Conduit pointed out, Sterling will make out like a bandit financially.

      As for Michael Sam, I say “live and let live” and be careful what you say if you stand to get fined or punished for it.

    • 28

      Are you an idiot, or just a born again antagonist? Certainly a moron. You pick a few words out of a decent article and twist them to try and castigate the writer? What was actually said, and the way Hunter typed it mean basically the same damn thing. Whichever way it is said, the same meaning is extrapolated. Johnson should be ashamed for his liberal lifestyle that caused him to get HIV and then for continuing that lifestyle which had the possibly of spreading HIV? Or, Johnson should be ashamed of having HIV? Well he wouldn’t have HIV if not for his sordid lifestyle that he should be ashamed of. Therefore, there is no real debateable difference in either statement. The difference is highly technical and not relevant to the context for which this article was published. Once again I say that you are nothing but an antagonist who gets his jollies off by attacking anyone who isn’t a Barnrat. You must have a wonderful life spending hours a day typing novels on a rivals website. At least the Peachy Thingie keeps it short and to the point. LOL!

      • 29

        This was typed referencing LMAO’s first reply to Hunter. And oh yes, I know LMAO is a Corndog, not a Barnrat. Same thing, nearly.

        • 30

          Observer I didn’t “twist” the writers words. In fact I quoted the writers words verbatim in my post. I also quoted Sterling’s words verbatim and contrasted them to what the writher’s words claimed was said so that every non ignorant person who read the writers comments could clearly see that he had twisted Sterling’s words. Maybe you don’t fit in the non ignorant class of people.

          If you can’t see that being ashamed of your life style and being ashamed of having Aids is two distinct things, then I guess to you being being a bama fan and being stupid could also not possibly be two distinct things.

          Then again you proved you are both by saying in your first post I must enjoy “attacking anyone who isn’t a Barnrat”, implying that I am an Auburn fan. And then in your second post three minutes later come back and post oh yes I know you are an LSU fan.

        • 31

          And Observer I guess you also have a wonderful life spending hours a day reading my novels on this website and then spending more time commenting on my novels. I guess by doing so you are admitting that if I am an just an antagonist as you claim, then you were antagonized by my novels.

          Hey Peachy, Observer likes you better than me!

  5. 32

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    • 33
      Hunter Ford

      Okay. All right. No parlay voo frahn-say.. Habla Engliase? I’m at a loss. Spreken zi Deutch? Roll Tide? How bout music? It’s a language we all understand.

      De NAda and Hasta Luego Mi Amigo?

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