Team Owners Should Be Penalized for Other Evils, Too

(For those of you reading from the WordPress index, do not be discouraged by this posting’s length, about 350 words are in the footnotes.)

The fraternity of sports team owners is a unique group. In the early days, most owners were wealthy sports enthusiasts who paid attention to profit only because it was necessary to stay in business. Their real passion was the sport itself. For every Charles Comiskey who was willing to treat his players so poorly that they were ripe for the temptations of gamblers, there were at least two or three Clark Griffiths who endured financial losses because baseball was their love.

Now, big money rules sports. The bottom line is Priority #1 and if a championship results as well, then that’s a nice bonus!


Despite the shift in emphasis, owners still appreciate the uniqueness of their situation and operate it as such. For example, each major league has a barrier to entry not seen in other industries. It requires more than money to buy an existing franchise or to establish a new one. In each case, the present owners must approve the action, and usually by more than a simple majority.

Owners in a league are also subject to league rules similar to those in a homeowners association. While these regulations are not as petty as many of those affecting home
owners, the financial consequences of misconduct are far greater for the sports owner.


Such occurred recently for Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA Los Angeles Clippers, when a private conversation was made public in April. (The motives of the individual revealing the conversation should be debated, but in another venue.) This married man told his mixed-race Mexican girlfriend:

“There’s nothing wrong with minorities. They’re fabulous…I don’t want you to hate. I want you to love them – privately.” The clincher was when he said later, “and not to bring them (her black friends) to any games.”1

Infidelity aside, the NBA had to respond when Sterling’s severely disrespectful views became known. The league understands its prominent and privileged place in sports. It requires that it present a higher standard in its public image. The uncharitable remarks by Sterling exhibited not only a shameful view of his fellow human beings, but a blatant disregard for the majority of his players whose efforts allow him to reap the benefits of free enterprise.

This article is not judging the league’s decision to fine Mr. Sterling $2.5 million (the maximum allowed by league rules) or to force him out of the fraternity of league owners. But take note, when it did, it established a moral precedent for itself and other leagues. Unfortunately, it is a precedent which will likely be respected selectively.


That Sterling’s statements were not deemed trivial is a step in the right direction. His sin against charity2, in what is now a public setting, required a serious penalty. His views were morally wrong and they also hinder the prospects of what he and his team’s fans want most—a winning team.

What is troubling, however, is that other gravely improper behavior by owners is not just overlooked, but is glorified by a public with a malformed conscience.
For many, the shame of racial discrimination has blinded them from the severity of great evils such as artificial population control and the push to legitimize the impossible—same-sex marriage.3,4,5 These are direct slams at God, who is the Author of Life, or at Natural Law for those who are unbelievers.

A team owner who espouses racial prejudice commits a wrong which is evident by the damage it does to the harmony needed in business and demanded by a civil society.

A team owner who supports abortion (and its relative, artificial birth control6) trivializes human life and is striving for a control over life which is not within his authority. When respect for human life is compromised, other dangerous rationalizations automatically follow. And they have.

The endorsement of same-sex “marriage” is a most presumptuous act.7 No human can change the definition of marriage because it is not an invention of the state.

These actions represent a rejection of Natural Law are not without automatic consequences, regardless of human attempts at intervention.

Dealing with the Donald Sterlings of this world is the first stage of getting our house in order. Now let’s repair the foundation before it’s too late.

1 – 4/26/2014 on

2 – “’If I…have not charity,’ says the Apostle, ‘I am nothing.’ Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, ‘if I…have not charity, I gain nothing.’ Charity is superior to all the virtues. It is the first of the theological virtues: ‘So faith, hope, charity abide, these three. But the greatest of these is charity.’” Paragraph 1826 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Liguori Publications, Liguori, MO, 1994) which also quotes from 1 Corinthians 13.

3 – “’ By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is them that it finds its crowning glory…” Part of paragraph 1652, Ibid.

4 – “Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms. Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice.” Paragraph 1654, Ibid.

5 – “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided…” Paragraph 2358, Ibid.

6 – “… In contrast, ‘every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, purposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible’ is intrinsically evil…” Paragraph 2370, Ibid.

7 – “… It (homosexuality) has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (citing Gen 19:1-29, Rom 1:24-27, 1 Cor 6:10 and 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” Paragraph 2357, Ibid.


4 thoughts on “Team Owners Should Be Penalized for Other Evils, Too

  1. “These are direct slams at God, who is the Author of Life, or at Natural Law for those who are unbelievers.”

    The concept of Natural Law makes no sense outside of religion. Unless you are talking about tested physical laws, you are working with religious concepts and your arguments only apply within you religion.

    • The presence of Natural Law on the consciences of early peoples allowed them to have a sense of right and wrong before the Ten Commandments first codified it. The conscience is what separates us from animals, not our supposed greater intelligence.
      I have known more than one atheist or agnostic who professed no need of religion or influence by it, but still had an elevated code of personal conduct that was not caused by a fear of civil law or by a desire to manipulate people.

      • Other animals, including other primates and dogs, exhibit a moral sense. This is a social survival mechanism and is very rudimentary. Are you referring to the simple evolved biological reaction against causing pain in others as “natural law”? These reactions change not only with culture but through evolution, and do not have any universal application to acts as complex as choice of sexual partner.

        I don’t know what wishy-washy not-quite-secular and not scientific atheists or agnostics you’ve met that make these kinds of references, but a small handful of cases out of a billion or so non religious people is a sample so unscientific as to explain a lot about how you draw your conclusions. That’s like saying “I’ve met 20 Christians who support same-sex marriage, so since Christians are OK with it…”

      • A moral sense requires free will and a conscience to guide it which rules out animals. Avoiding pain is instinctual. Everything animals do is because of instinct or learned behavior. They are amoral. A male dog running around multiplying at will with any female is not acting immorally, whereas a human would be.
        The scientific method is a fantastic tool to understand how the universe works, but it can’t explain the “why” or anything outside of the universe. In the same way, religion is not competent to explain gravity.
        If it were true that there is no Creator or after-life, then it would make more sense to live by trying to get away with as much as possible like our President instead of sacrificing oneself for any version of “common good.”
        Natural Law as a pre-organized religion inclination toward moral behavior doesn’t rule out the existence of same-sex attraction, alcoholism, heterosexual addiction or any other addictive behavior. It helps the “unchurched” of history to avoid living the law of the jungle. No amount of politically-correct rationalization can legitimize any of these behaviors and compassion doesn’t mean to enable them.

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