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April 30, 2014

In Our Opinion: Society winning its battle with bigotry

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”

Peter 2:1-25

It is obvious from that biblical quote that foolish and malevolent bigotry did not begin with Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, nor will it end with them.

But, we’re trying to be better. We as a society really seem to be trying.

If we want to find something to feel good about concerning the incredibly offensive racial statements by foolish old coots Sterling and Bundy, it is that the public and the powers that be have rejected them so overwhelmingly.

On Tuesday, Sterling was banned for life from any participation in the National Basketball Association, fined the maximum $2.5 million and told that he had to sell his interest in the team he has owned since 1981.

“We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views,” new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “They simply have no place in the NBA.”

The initial outrage over Sterling’s taped remarks regarding African Americans, and the subsequent rapturous praise for Silver’s actions, are in marked contrast to that of the late Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall.

While other National Football League teams had African American players since 1946, Marshall, an unrepentant racist, refused to have even one on his teams until 1962, and only after Interior Secretary Steward Udall and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy threatened him with revocation of the team’s 30-year lease at D.C. — now Robert F. Kennedy — Stadium.

Instead of being punished or banned by the NFL, in 1963 Marshall was voted into its Hall of Fame.

Today, his former team is under pressure — as it should be — to abandon the offensive “Redskins” nickname.

Bundy is a rancher who has for the last 20 years been grazing his cattle on federal government land in Nevada. When the feds asked him to pay for the privilege, he refused, saying he didn’t recognize the United States government’s authority.

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