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Outrage at racism needed to start much sooner

So is everybody done?

Maybe we'll hum the "Jeopardy!" theme in case one last grandstander from the wilderness hasn't unburdened himself or herself over Donald Sterling, the bigot who used to own the L.A. Clippers.

Now maybe all the purveyors of moral outrage can tackle the residual effect. Like, you know, the boundaries of privacy. You know. That old thing.

Nobody whose opinion is worth hearing would debate Sterling's abhorrence. It's nothing new. (More on that later). But his musings - heinous, yes - were not said publicly. We know of them because some floozy in fishnets reportedly recorded them and found those paragons of virtue at TMZ to air them.

Somehow, that's a postscript in this story. Actually, the fundamental right to privacy got rolled in the avalanche of mob psychology that illustrated what we're becoming as a country: a bunch of gasbags on Twitter who need to prove their moralism by shouting louder than the next guy.

"It was an opportunity for all of us to make an appearance," one friend of mine said Wednesday.

Once again: Had Sterling made the comments publicly, we're not having this discussion. But he didn't. And let me be the first to say that if my wife ever recorded some of my musings at home, I wouldn't be regarded as the sweet, lovable guy you all think I am.

I realize that defending Sterling is impossible.

But would you want your privacy trampled?

I also realize that privacy issues as a matter of law are complex. But it's the inconvenience of complexity that commands deeper thought. Complex motivations can't be tweeted.

What would the world think about you if someone caught you at the wrong moment at home and recorded some of your views on society?

Isn't privacy, or lack thereof, what many Americans have been screaming about since learning more about the National Security Agency's practices?

Tell me: Where are all the moralists on that?

Because I've got to say that the moral outrage over Sterling's comments should get flagged 15 yards for piling on. It's hardly the worst thing he's ever said. And much of the dramatis personae in the NBA know it.

And they tolerated it for years.

Funny how it's easy to enable somebody when the operative color isn't black but green.

This is from a lawsuit in 2002. One of his property supervisors swore under oath in a housing discrimination suit that Sterling said: "That's because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they're not clean."

More Sterling from that suit: "It's because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day."

"I don't like Mexican men because they smoke, drink and just hang around the house."

"Is she one of those black people that stink? Just evict the (expletive)."

Once again: Where was the moral outrage then?

Ah, but Donald Sterling was never a cause célèbre in those days. The Clippers stunk, so everyone ignored him. As if that's an excuse to tolerate bigotry. Yet now that there's an avenue to grandstand, they want NBA Commissioner Adam Silver up for the Nobel Prize.

I mean, beating up (at least) a 40-year racist is somehow going to improve race relations in this country? Maybe the commish can accompany me next time I'm doing something so egregious as to shop with my son, who is African American, as we endure occasional looks of disapproval.

I'll tell Daniel next time: "It's OK, bud. Donald Sterling is no longer the owner of the Clippers."

Then he'll say: "That solves everything, Daddy!"

This is the story of how hypocrisy and fraudulence became a smokescreen for institutional neglect. And a bunch of pathetic, cathartic attempts for social commentators on Twitter to distance themselves from enabling a racist for decades.

Go ahead and pile on Donald Sterling. Privacy? Please. That's a dry, esoteric conversation. Let's replace that with moral outrage backed by mob psychology.

The United States of America at work in 2014.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.


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