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Pro/Con: Was Donald Sterling's punishment fair?

By Jessica Priest
May 11, 2014 at 12:11 a.m.
Updated May 12, 2014 at 12:12 a.m.

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife Rochelle during the Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles. An attorney representing the estranged wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling said Thursday, May 8, 2014, that she will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

  • First Amendment of the United States Constitution

The NBA swiftly punished Donald Sterling after racist comments he made to a girlfriend decades his junior surfaced online.

"It bothers me that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?" he said in the tape.

The conversation between Sterling, who owns the Los Angeles Clippers, and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, tends to go in circles for about nine minutes but centers on some photos she posted to her Instagram.

Particularly offensive to Sterling were the photos she posted of her with Magic Johnson.

The NBA fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him for life.

His punishment has been met with both praise and criticism.

While some say the First Amendment doesn't protect you from the consequences of what you say, others argue what Sterling said in private should have been kept private.

Was Sterling's punishment fair?

Pro: As private company, NBA can ban Donald Sterling for comments

Con: Donald Sterling's conversation should have been kept private

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