It has been a tumultuous week of hateful speech and rhetoric, and just when it seems like it could not get worse, it does. Many fans have been very upset and rightfully so with the comments of soon-to-be former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, but recent reports about him fighting prostate cancer has led to some despicable behavior and comments from groups of individuals.
Fighting hate with hate will never move society past the point of where it currently stands, and for some people to say that he is getting what he deserves is beyond ignorant, and quite frankly, it is sad. Each year more than eight million people lose their lives to cancer and it is not always the most morally superior individuals that succumb to the effects of the deadly disease. Sometimes people say and do some horrible things, but wishing death upon any individual should not be accepted. What Donald Sterling said was repulsive and the punishment handed down upon him was justified. The majority of people are happy with the punishment—he has been banned for life from the NBA, was fined $2.5 million and most likely, he will be forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. People should leave it at that and avoid personal attacks and ill wishes upon the man.
Los Angeles Clippers star point guard responded to the news, saying that it is “truly unfortunate.” Although it is a small handful of individuals that choose to spew further hatred, everyone must remember that this is a person’s life that is being discussed. In addition to the despicable individuals that say he deserves this, others that question the timing of the cancer announcement should also take a step back and think before they speak. Neither Donald Sterling, nor his representatives have confirmed the story, but sources say that he has been battling the disease for three years. For those that have and will continue to say that this story has made its way into the media spotlight to divert some of the attention away from the negative attention, it is imperative to know the facts and listen to the truth before letting the accusations run rampant.
No matter how much our society has progressed and continues to do so, it must be remembered that there will always be pitfalls. There will always be comments made by people in the public spotlight that are hateful, racist or misguided, but to fight fire with fire is not the solution. While nothing will ever be perfect, or even close to it, it is important that when the next naïve or ignorant person says something that tosses us into a world that we wish did not exist, that the return reaction must not be a continuance of hate.
Comments made by Donald Sterling were despicable and the NBA made a wise decision in handing down the stiffest penalty possible. The recent reports that he is battling prostate cancer is a completely separate topic, and one that should be addressed much differently than his racist comments. If society would like to move forward, it is important that its people not stoop to the level of Sterling and become the same people that we are already disgusted with.
Commentary by Johnny Caito