Guilty of jumping the gun with Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling

Photo courtesy of changefromwithin.org
Photo courtesy of changefromwithin.org

One negative effect of living in an Internet- and television-based world of information (out of many) is that it exacerbates the human condition of believing what we first consume about people or certain situations.

It also provokes us to take a stance on an issue, which often lacks evidence, because a conservative or liberal entity said we should.

It is becoming more apparent that our overreactions and deepened stances when it comes to almost any news that is perceived to be racial, political or gender-based is getting in the way of how we discuss important issues.

There are two cases that come to mind where not only have journalists overreacted to the revelation of new information, but the public as well.

For starters, when the political right found out about Cliven Bundy and his illegal cow grazing on federal land, tea party members and gun rights activists jumped to his support without fully looking into Bundy’s worldview.

His bandwagon supporters didn’t properly vet Bundy.

Shortly after Bundy received ravenous backing, he became too comfortable and began discussing issues publicly that he should have kept to himself. He wondered if blacks would be better off as slaves as opposed to living under government subsidies. He said this publicly and his attempts to redeem himself just made matters worse.

Conservatives, who could have used this issue to promote smaller government and point to federal government overreach, are now quickly denouncing Bundy because he reinforces the negative stereotypes people have of the Republican Party.

Members of the left aren’t immune from this kind of behavior.

Recently, Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s private conversation with his then girlfriend V. Stiviano about not taking Instagram pictures with blacks and not bringing them to games became public after it was secretly recorded by someone.

Stiviano’s lawyer Mac E. Nehoray says that she did not release the recordings to the media, but there is no denial from her team that she was the one behind recording the private conversation.

What much of the media isn’t highlighting is that Sterling’s wife Rochelle, who believes Stiviano is a “gold digger” and “mistress” is claiming that Stiviano goes after older, wealthier men.

The lawsuit purports that Stiviano used the couple’s money to purchase expensive cars. According to the court document, Stiviano is accused of embezzling $1.8 million in the form of a duplex.

With all of these facts and claims swirling around in the debate pool, the public, including black NBA players and members of the community have been quick to criticize Sterling (which they have every right to do), but very slow to examine the Stiviano situation.

There have been statements from President Barack Obama, former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson, rapper Snoop Dogg and NBA great Michael Jordan castigating Sterling. The National Basketball Players Assocation (the NBA’s players union) is looking to go after Sterling “aggressively” and with “swift action.”

Jesse Jackson has already spoken on this event likening basketball to picking cotton and civil rights activist Al Sharpton has already fervently gone after Sterling’s marketing and broadcast partners in an attempt to squeeze the organization’s life support because Sharpton feels as though the NBA is not acting fast enough.

Those on the left of the political spectrum are jumping at the opportunity to call Sterling a racist when the facts aren’t fully revealed.

It’s obvious that the media and certain members of the black community are paying more attention to one side of this debacle.

Instead, we should be asking what constitutes racism. In Sterling’s released audio, he never said he didn’t like blacks personally or that he hated them, but asked his girlfriend not to post pictures of herself with black people because of the calls he would receive from peers.

Is what Sterling said bigoted and prejudiced? More than likely, yes, but we are all prejudiced. We should have some semblance of privacy in what happens in our private conversations without the threat of our views being made public.

It’s disappointing to see the president and black figures denounce Sterling when there is no evidence that he has allowed his views to push him to discriminate against NBA employees.

People are asking for him to give up his ownership of the team and to be punished at the highest level, which seems dire for a situation where all of the facts are still being worked out.

Chris Paul, a player for the Clippers, is the 11th highest paid NBA player with his contract coming to a little over $18 million and Blake Griffin’s salary comes to a bit over $7 million.

Are players and coaches really suffering because of comments made by Sterling when he has more than likely always felt this way?

Sterling’s viewpoints towards minorities haven’t changed. The only thing that has changed is that his thoughts were made public. Sterling hasn’t shifted the way he’s treated his players, persons on his management or coaches. Our knowledge of how he feels about minorities is the only thing that’s different — something to keep in mind.

Overall, it’s tiresome to see the media, leaders and the public jump at an opportunity to excoriate a person, take the side of or report on a news item before all of the facts become available.

Everybody more than likely has their own agenda to push in every situation situation and because of this, all sides need to be taken into account.

When it comes to conservatives, liberals, the general public and the media, we could all learn something from these recent events.

Wait for the facts to come out before taking a hard stance because you’ll probably look as silly as the ones you claim are in the wrong (or right).

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