By Jay Young
Even people who are completely uninterested in the world of professional sports know about the NBA's recent triumph over Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his racist comments that were made public earlier this week.
Your grandfather, who may not know that the Buffalo Braves are no longer a team, probably knows something about the scandal.
While my fingers instinctively turned the television channel to ESPN the day after basketball commissioner Adam Silver decided to ban Sterling from the league for life due to his statements, I watched the media spectacle unfold.
In just a few minutes, the screen cut from one over-saturated headline to another in much the same way that CNN has been nonsensically putting out stories on Flight 370 for the past month.
Watching for a short period, it became clear that the producer for SportsCenter was content to waste eight hours of programming, switching between one prefabricated condemnation to the other while failing to address any of the more interesting parts of Sterling's tabloid shellacking.
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The coverage of the news story that I witnessed was nothing more than pandering, intended to beguile the viewing public with appeals to emotion and pseudo-moralism.
The mainstream media loves to evoke this sort of holier-than-thou approach to stories like the one that is currently shaking up the NBA, while ignoring the questions that might really cause a people to think about the situation critically.
Since the story broke, sports news has given us one interview after another from people who deplore the actions of the accused with increasing ferocity and judgment, as if there is any possibility that someone will come step up to the plate and defend the prejudice spewing from Sterling's poisonous lips.
Within hours of the news hitting the airwaves, media pundits quickly rushed to offer more serious disapproval than the previous contributor, with each successive interview ramping up the shock and awe.
Sitting around and talking about how badly someone has behaved is not constructive, although it does make for some entertaining television (which is clearly all ESPN cares about these days).
Amazingly, in this firestorm of commercialized-news fluff, I have not heard anyone mention the link between Sterling's scandal and one of our most important political issues - federal surveillance.
Ever since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on illicit surveillance and data mining by the National Security Agency, the wiser portion of the country has been up in arms due to warrantless searches on the personal information of American's.
Our citizens are beginning to see through the fog of the post-9/11 era and take a moral stand against this sort of intrusion by the federal government.
And yet when illegal surveillance outs a bigoted old fool like Sterling, people stand up and applaud when justice is served up.
Well, at the risk of cliche, we don't get to have our cake and eat it to.
It does not make any sense to be angry about illegal government surveillance while beating the war drum for Sterling's public shaming.
People will make the argument that regardless of whether or not Sterling was recorded without his knowledge, that the content of his language overrides that consideration.
Well guess what? That is the exact same logic that the intelligence community is using in order to justify sorting through your emails, text messages, and mobile phone data.
The entire idea behind our currently out-of-control surveillance state is that national security outweighs the Constitutional rights of the American people.
Not only are we not having a discussion about illegal surveillance in the case of Sterling, but the fact is not even being discussed.
The reason that we have a Constitutional amendment that protects privacy is because even the most pious among us have opinions, statements, and information that we don't want other people to know about.
In the case of Sterling, his statements are so clearly in the wrong that no one wants to consider the possibility that they were distributed illegally.
I understand that the NBA is completely entitled to make their decisions regardless of whether or not the recording of Sterling was illegal, as they are a private organization that is bound by their own rules and regulations.
But at the same time, if we can't take a step back and admit that this scandal was created due to an illegal recording then we are missing the point. Privacy is either important or it is not. We don't get to pick and choose, depending on the situation.
If we all come together and laud the actions of Sterling's girlfriend, then we have to admit that we are no better than the people at the NSA who are putting the Constitution through a paper shredder on a daily basis.