Let it not be said that Donald Sterling (the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers whose weird, racist conversation with his girlfriend has attracted some attention) lacks defenders. Among them? Donald Trump, who thinks Sterling was "set up," and Infowars' Alex Jones, who, surprisingly, sees this as part of a vast conspiracy. Nor is that list complete.
We shall start with Trump who, again, should be encouraged to talk as much as possible. Stopping by Fox News on Monday, Trump declared that Sterling was "set up by a very, very bad girlfriend," as The Root reports. "Let's face it: That whole thing is — she's called the girlfriend from hell." And: "She was baiting him, and she's a terrible human being." And: "The way she led him along. He should know, if he were there, if he was with it, he would know after one or two of those questions that she was answering and asking that there's something going on here." It is a fundamental tenet of American law that if someone gets you to admit something embarrassing or horrible but doesn't explicitly tell you in advance that they will use that information against you, it is not you who is the bad person. Tell us more, Mr. Trump!
Meanwhile, over at Alex Jones' concrete-walled bunker two miles under the surface of the Nevada desert, the Sterling incident is explained quite easily: President Obama, Magic Johnson, and Al Sharpton are "ganging up" on the poor defenseless millionaire. In case it wasn't clear how the blog post was unfolding, I'll let this sentence provide some guidance. "Keep in mind Sterling is so far an alleged racist." He has not — I repeat, not — been convicted of racism in a court of law. "Should somebody lose money because of an alleged hurtful remark?" Jones asks, perhaps with some small bit of self-awareness. "Should people be driven in destitution because they say mean things about this race of that particular tribe?" Sterling, we suspect, will avoid destitution.
On ABC's This Week, conservative commentator Bill Kristol recommended a different sort of caution, as Talking Points Memo reports. "I mean, everyone goes hysterical over two or three sentences," Kristol said, "but let's look at the actual deeds of people. If people discriminate, it's against the law, they should be punished." If you are interested in a look at the actual deeds of Donald Sterling, please review this story or this story from the Los Angeles Times. The latter documents the $2.75 million settlement Sterling filed for discriminating against black and Latino tenants in housing he owned. That settlement did occur in a court of law.
No list of Sterling defenses would be complete without mentioning the extensive diatribe from John Hinderaker at the conservative Powerline blog. It's long, but we'll simply extract a snippet from Hinderaker's conclusion. "It is telling that this domestic upheaval between an aging billionaire and his gold-digging, disloyal mistress," he writes, "represents the best the Left can come up with to support its claim that racism and the 'legacy of race and slavery and segregation' are alive and well." Yeah. Hard to find any other examples in which racial politics and understanding are confused.
Update, 4:00 p.m.: Rush Limbaugh spent some time on his radio show today indicating that everyone knew about Sterling's past transgressions, so the new revelations shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, he said, according to Politico, Sterling is "a typical Hollywood Democrat." For what it's worth — almost nothing! —Sterling has given money to Democrats. It appears, however, that he is a Republican.