The Sterling case brings up two other questions: One, are public figures less entitled to privacy? And two, is separation between church and state really possible?
I know you’re thinking – huh? How does that second question at all relate to this case? As I mentioned yesterday, a primary issue to address in the Sterling case is the fact that the audio clip saw the light of day. It was a private recording between two people, and it DOES sounds like she was baiting him into making the comments he did. I don’t really blame her; he’s scum. But can and should that audio clip be used to not only fire Sterling, but ban him from the NBA? This makes me think of Mozilla all over again.
Fundamentally, it also comes back to this question: Can we all, truly, keep our personal opinions on religion/politics/race/gender/sexual orientation/LIFE at home when we go to work? Can we every REALLY separate church and state in our practice, when they are so entwined in our hearts?
I want to believe that we can, to the extent that I believe it is possible to treat all humans respectfully in the workplace, even if you don’t agree with their looks or their lifestyle. I’ve even seen it happen. I have a coworker who is a Jehovah’s Witness. I’m gay, and I know that his religious beliefs mean that he doesn’t condone my marriage. Yet he has always been incredibly kind and friendly to me, asks about my wife, and goes out of his way to include me in activities and make me feel welcome. Sure, some cynics might say he’s just waiting for a time to proselytize. But I believe instead that he’s acting in the workplace in a way that shows respect and equity to his coworkers, even if he may act differently at home. He is proof to me that it is possible to keep one’s personal beliefs separate from the way they behave (and yes, I’m focusing on the word “behave” intentionally) in the workplace. And if this is possible, then isn’t it only fair to give Donald Sterling the same consideration – at least in this particular situation?