In today's press conference covering the lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine against Clippers owner Donald Sterling over his racist remarks, a Fox News' The Kelly File reporter asked NBA Commissioner Adam Silver if he was on a "slippery slope."
“Should someone lose their team for remarks shared in private? Is this a slippery slope?”
Jovian Lien is not the first person to raise the question of freedom of speech in the handing down of punishment against Sterling. On Monday, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban asked the same essential question, also using the phrase "slippery slope."
"I think there's a constitution for a reason, right? Because this is a very slippery slope," said Cuban. "What Donald said was wrong. It was abhorrent. There's no place for racism in the NBA, any business I'm associated with, and I don't want to be associated with people who have that position." He added "I think you've got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It's a very, very slippery slope."
Ed Schultz found the question unacceptable anyway, and characterized the Fox reporter as "standing up" for a "racist millionaire." The reporter was likewise attacked by Raw Story, who claimed Lien was "offering a defense for Donald Sterling." The Daily Banter theorizes this will be the theme of tonight's Kelly File.
Despite the hysterics, this was just good, basic journalism. The Fox News reporter asked a legitimate question at a press conference about an aspect of the story that people will wonder about and want to know the answer to. Indeed, a very famous person asked the very question just yesterday. And not just any famous person, a fellow owner who may be directly affected by the precedent. It would be irresponsible and biased of the press not to ask the commissioner about it.
But Ed Schultz doesn't care about that. He prefers his pound of Fox News flesh guilt-, if not gluten-, free.