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home : columns : columns May 31, 2016


4/30/2014 12:00:00 PM
Nowhere to hide
The question of the day is, what do Donald Sterling and lepers have in common?
As it turns out, quite a lot. Meanwhile, Sterling is learning a few things about something Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas called, "the marketplace of ideas."
According to Tuesday's USA Today, sponsors did not just walking away from the Los Angeles Clippers and embattled owner Donald Sterling  - they ran. Racist remarks, even if they are only alleged, are not good for business.
As of Tuesday morning, the list of Clipper escapees included: CarMax, State Farm Insurance, Kia Motors America, airline Virgin America, P. Diddy's water brand, AQUAHydrate, Red Bull, Yokohama tires and Mercedes-Benz.
"CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers' owner completely unacceptable," the company said in a statement through public relations manager Catherine Gryp on Monday. "These views directly conflict with CarMax's culture of respect for all individuals."
I would love to see the list of companies that stuck with Sterling and the Clippers. Ultimately, the NBA banned Sterling from the league on Tuesday.
All of this takes me back to my college media law courses which included phrases like "the marketplace of ideas." Fredrick Siebert, a former professor of journalism, who wrote a book called Four Theories of the Press, once said: "Let all with something to say be free to express themselves. The true and sound will survive. The false and unsound will be vanquished. Government should keep out of the battle and not weigh the odds in favor of one side or the other."
Freedom of speech is a great benefit of living in the United States. But it comes with risks and penalties. As Siebert pointed out, "the false and unsound will be vanquished" - or, in this case, dumped by the NBA and a host of major sponsors.








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