A Billion Doesn't Buy Respect

Yesterday, on Twitter, a little tête-à-tête broke out between a sports-obsessed friend and I.

I initiated the conversation by sending him a link to MP’s tweet about using the NBA’s stance on racism as grounds to never watch sports.i For those who missed it, Donald Sterling, the “owner”ii of the LA-based Clippers, an NBA basketball team, was fined $2.5M, banned from attending games for life, and may be forced by the NBA Commissioner to sell his team.iii

In addition to the moral outrage of many a talking head, Red Bull, Yokohama, Sprint, Kia, Virgin America, State Farm, CarMax, and other gleaming corporate giants have joined forces in pulling their sponsorship of Sterling’s team; a marketing amputation not seen since Tiger Woods crashed into a fire hydrant. This was all because the billionaire asked his girlfriend not to embarrass him in front of his friends.

That’s the background. What ensued was a lively conversationiv between Good Sport and I over Twitter DM, which I’m republishing here for your enlightenment and enjoyment:

Bitcoin Pete: http://bit.ly/R4tH2v
Good Sport: BREAKING: old rich racist guy says racist thing
BP: if being rich doesn’t buy you freedom of speech, you’re rich in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
GS: you can say whatever you want – but not in a bubble
BP: well then you CAN’T say whatever you want unless you’re in your shower. which is textivist bullshit.
GS: there is no place for racism and now we get a long drawn out legal process to take the franchise away from him
BP: racism isn’t a fucking thing. not using “bad words” doesn’t make shit go away. censorship is the opposite of a liberal society.
GS: saying that white people and black people are not equal is a thing
GS: that is hate speech and has no place in any “liberal society”
BP: saying that two people behave differently is a thing and it’s irrespective of race.
BP: different colours of people may be the same at birth, but their cultures shape them into different kinds of adults, ergo unequal adults
BP: it’s not the adults’ fault their parents sucked or that their parents gave them everything, and words don’t change that outcome.
GS: this has nothing to do with that – racism exists and this man is a disgusting racist pig
BP: meh, that’s slave morality. i prefer master morality.v
GS: this guy has made his billions on the back of housing discrimination – not even your philosophers would be okay with that
BP: my philosophers, clippers dude, and I don’t think that “the people” get to decide what’s right and wrong. the world is, people are.
GS: do you think that it is okay to systematically deny housing to people based on race?
BP: doesn’t matter what i think. i can’t do shit about it. just like i can’t choke afghanis with “democracy.”
BP: dude could say “it’s their credit score” and no one would care.
GS: i am asking what you think though
BP: and i’m saying that i don’t care what the dude does. the world isn’t fair. never has been. humans be human
BP: live and let live
GS: does any form of discrimination bother you? or is it just all humans being humans?
BP: humans discern, human discriminate, human perceive, humans judge, that’s how we tell friend from foe, predator from prey, art from garbage
GS: i want to know your feelings on it though
BP: i told you what i think. google intp or intj maybe?
GS: does discrimination bother you?
BP: who gets to decide what discrimination is?
BP: you’re basically asking if it bothers when ppl disagree with me. For the most part, no.
GS: 
is redlining and mortgage discrimination okay in your mind?
BP: you can’t make people lend money to other people. And we don’t know what we’d do in the same situation.
BP: people don’t have a right to a loan to a job or anything. We can’t force people to be charitable
BP: besides, discriminating against people who discriminate is itself discrimination.
GS: no one is discriminating against him
BP: discrimination is to say that something is apart from other things. The words and actions against him are isolating, hence discriminatory
GS: words against him are isolating? what about the words he said?
BP: “the people,” self-rightous nba, and dude’s gf think they matter, so they flail. only the owners matter
GS: and the owners are going to vote him out of the league
BP: and kim jong un will snap them up. la fin.
BP: hey mind if i throw this conversation into a post?
GS: dont quote me though

I appreciate that, absolutely all things being equal, there’s no reason to prefer one person over another person based on skin colour, sex, age, etc. But all things are rarely equal. And that’s ok. We have far more to learn from one another’s differences than from the featureless soup of humanity that “progress” prescribes. Also, for those morally outraged by Mr. Sterling’s behaviour, you’re not in a position of authority to tell a complete stranger how to behave. No authority, no voice.vi So STFU.

Lastly but not leastly, if we actually listen to the recorded conversation between Mr. Sterling and his girlfriend, that which initiated this whole brouhaha, the man sounds incredibly frustrated that his request – that his girlfriend not advertise her relationships with people that he finds unbecoming – was simply too much for her. Whether you agree with Sterling or not, dude gets zero respect. In fact, she treats him like dirt, playing so many holier-than-thou cards she needs two decks.

More than that one can’t speak freely nor even “own” a basketball team in the US anymore, this is what’s remarkable: that Mr. Billionaire found himself in a relationship with someone who thought she was better than him.

A billion is cool, but respect is cooler.

 

___ ___ ___

  1. As far as I’m concerned, an hour of F1 every second or third week is more than enough corporations masquerading as athletes. Still, it’s not only because Lewis Hamilton is kicking ass and taking names in 2014 that no one in F1 cares about “racism,” it’s also because everyone in F1 knows that the only colour that matters is Green. Green is the only language in the world that unites elites better than English. Green, in addition to other forms of power like popularity and eloquence, actually matter in the world outside the decrepit United States of Egypt. The rest of the world doesn’t just blah blah pretend, the rest of the world matters. But since the USG has all the power in that fair land, her citizens are left with nothing but words, and less and less of even that feeble faculty every day. []
  2. Do you think you own your house? Try setting fire to it and seeing if you get charged with arson. True ownership means true authority. That’s why Bitcoin is a big fucking deal. []
  3. Really, the Commissioner can’t do much. He can effect a vote, but 75% of the other team owners still have to agree to force Sterling to sell. Even then, it’s not clear when or for how much money he would have to do this far. Really, an apology sounds more likely than a sale of the team. []
  4. There was also a lively conversation on IRC, if you’re interested. []
  5. See Nietzsche: Bitcoin’s biggest fan. []
  6. Kinda like +m in #bitcoin-assets. Shame the rest of the world doesn’t work this way… []

11 thoughts on “A Billion Doesn't Buy Respect

  1. But didn’t the guy ask you not to quote him ?

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  8. […] [Bryant] is by far one of the best basketball players of the last decade. Certain willful idiots will argue that Kobe is the best player of the […]

  9. […] discussed some of the finer points surrounding net worth and real billions on these pages before, but how does the amateur armchair anthropologist (ie. the alert reader) go […]

  10. […] of town, on my own, I momentarily shucked off my disinterest for anything other than the Green Sport: F1. Obviously, the kettle was still black. […]

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