In Kobe Bryant’s farewell season, the LA Lakers are struggling through what might be their worst season in their proud history. Still, since they are the Lakers, they always seem to be in the news: Recently, it was revealed that Lakers rookie and No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell secretly recorded a conversation with his teammate, Nick Young. In that conversation, Young seems to admit to cheating on his fiance, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, with a much younger woman, and that video somehow found its way on the internet. This circus show has drawn a lot of attention, even from people who do not normally follow sports, and for the most part, the criticism against Russell is pretty harsh. His own teammates have reportedly isolated him so that he has to eat alone (seriously, it sounds like grade school). Former athletes have ripped him for breaking unspoken locker room rules, people in sports media have blasted him for being an immature idiot, guys have shredded him for breaking the “bro code,” and people in general have criticized him for recording a conversation that was clearly meant to be private.
Overall, I don’t have much of a problem with this criticism: Though it may be the case that Russell didn’t intend for the video to go public, he still shouldn’t have been recording his friend without Young’s knowledge. This is of course doesn’t mean that private conversations can never be revealed to others; if someone confesses to a murder to you, for example, you are justified in notifying the police. Still, regarding private matters that are not criminal, we tend to think that it is normally shady to expose that to the general public, and if it needs to be done, it should be done with wisdom and caution.
So no big problem there. My problem is this: Many of the people blasting Russell for this are the same people who were okay with Donald Sterling’s tapes being revealed and Brandon Eich’s personal donations being made public. This is both inconsistent and hypocritical, but I expect no less from ragers on the internet and blockheads in the media.
One of the things people seem to gloss over is that Nick Young looks like he cheated on his fiance. There are certainly some people bothered by this, but by and large, Young is getting a free pass and even painted as a poor victim. There are even many Laker fans who are saying, “I don’t care what he does in his private life; I just want the players on my team to play basketball. That’s between him and Iggy.” Fair enough. However, if “business” is all that matters, why was there such a giant uproar against Donald Sterling rather than his girlfriend who illicitly recorded their conversation? Because what he said was racist? I agree that that’s wrong, but is that illegal? Is that automatically worse than cheating on one’s wife, fiance, or girlfriend? Oh wait… infidelity is common among athletes, so that’s probably why they’re mad at Russell and not Young; not only that, infidelity is common in our overly sexualized culture, so I guess that explains why no one is really tearing into Swaggy P. You can brag about bedding girls 11 years younger than you while dating someone else because, well, we shouldn’t judge! But if you say something that gets the social justice warriors to blow a fuse, then yeah, you can totally judge.
And let’s be honest here: If you knew anything about Donald Sterling before that scandal, you already knew that he was probably racist, or at least held to rather outdated ideas about race. He already had lawsuits regarding improper discrimination. Spare me the outrage when the evidence was there that people gleefully ignored until he got recorded saying that stuff to his ironically minority girlfriend. Sterling ended up losing his team, and while he was one of the worst owners in sports that was reportedly an all-around unpleasant person, the way he lost it should have given a lot of people pause. Only a few people reflected on how dubious the whole thing was, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Let’s get to Brandon Eich. Eich was an executive at Mozilla Firefox until somebody leaked his donation to the campaign for California’s Proposition 8. His donation was private and perfectly legal. However, the lovely social justice warriors freaked out and demanded that Firefox fire him, and some low grade dating site, OKCupid, threatened to make their site unavailable to Firefox users. Firefox acquiesced and Eich got pushed out of his job. People on the internet celebrated that “justice” was done. What justice? That people can be bullied based on their private donations and beliefs? Where was the outrage that his private information was leaked? It is amazing how much progressives lack perspective. Again, somehow giving money for a proposition you personally believe in is worse than cheating on your significant other.
Let’s do a thought experiment: Let’s say that Nick Young didn’t talk about cheating on Azalea but rather said that he didn’t agree with gay marriage. What would the response have been? Who do you think would have gotten the ire of the public and the media, Russell or Young? Do you think most of these people criticizing Russell would be simply saying, “Well, those are Nick Young’s private beliefs and his private business; I just care that he plays well on the court”? We already know the answer: People would have thrown a hissy fit against Young and demanded an apology, and the Lakers would be forced to say that he doesn’t represent the views of everyone in the organization (which should be obvious anyway). There would be calls for Young to be traded, released, fined, or suspended, and honestly, something like that would have a chance of happening. Such are the times we live in.
When it comes to sexual behavior, that should be “private” and nobody’s business (unless you are a “protected group” that shoves your sexual preferences in others’ faces, in which case they just have to take it and even accommodate for it). However, things like beliefs… well, those things should be exposed, and if they represent ideas that loud progressives on the internet don’t like, one can expect that the whole “privacy” business gets thrown out of the window so that they can make sure that they can bully anyone who disagrees with them. How very “liberal” of them.
None of this is defending someone like Donald Sterling, who probably should have been dealt with by the NBA way sooner than that. I am simply pointing out that many people do not really care about privacy, many of these same people who gobble up garbage on gossip sites. They only care if something is exposed that they really dislike. Cheating and adultery? Eh, not that big of a deal and we hear it about it all the time among celebrities, so shame on you for breaking the bro code or whatever. But beliefs that don’t agree with mine? GASP. Rage induced. And stupidity.