Sterling not the only one who should be punished

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 26, 2014 

What am I missing? On the one hand, there's this multimillionaire octogenarian with a weakness for young women and a penchant for sticking his foot in his mouth. On the other hand, you've got V. Stiviano, the octogenarian's scheming "assistant."

One morning over breakfast, Stiviano activates her recorder and entices the octogenarian, Donald Sterling, into a discussion about racial matters surrounding the Clippers, a basketball team Sterling owns.

Predictably, Sterling utters a few inanities which may be ethnocentric, but hardly racist. They're just off-the-cuff remarks by an old man who is losing his buttons.

Then, the inevitable happens. Stiviano contacts a rapper named for a luxury car and a shakedown is concocted. Sterling is presented a Hobson's choice -- pay up or the tape goes public.

Sterling refuses, and the tape is released. The media goes nuts. The Clippers throw their jerseys in a pile and CNN's Anderson Cooper and the usual suspects pile on. Where was the Rev. Al Sharpton?

Now this is where I'm confused -- as a lawyer familiar with the criminal code. Stiviano committed a serious crime. In South Carolina it's called blackmail; in other states, extortion. This is a felony and punishable by up to 10 years in the joint.

Things must be different out West. Last time I looked, Stiviano was still out on the prowl. The rapper was doing whatever rappers do. Sterling had lost his team.

And the D.A.'s office was doing nothing.

Gary Coggin

Hilton Head Island

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service