By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The pathetic story of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his derogatory comments about African-Americans really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Sterling has a long history of alleged racism in his business dealings and personal conduct, to a degree that confirms the link between smoke and fire.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Being 80 years old is no excuse, but at least we can point to the outcry over his vile behavior as a sign that while too many people may still cling to racial hatred, the general climate of our culture is more inhospitable to that sort of garbage than ever.

This fact is recognized by our first president of color, who, amid all sorts of talk about how Sterling should be punished for his foolishness and what the NBA should do, made the great point that “when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.”

I totally agree, sunlight and fresh air are the best antidote to human mildew, although I certainly won’t shed a tear over any blowback Sterling now suffers.

But there’s one aspect of the Sterling story I find particularly troubling – the clear evidence that he would have been ostracized by society long ago if it weren’t for the billion dollars in his bank account.

Money can’t buy love, although the “girlfriend” who exposed Sterling proves it can temporarily buy the surface trappings of it.

Money most certainly cannot buy class.

But money can buy acceptance for the unacceptable and tolerance of the intolerable. It can buy the allegiance of business colleagues who otherwise would shun him.

And for those who let Sterling’s money buy their silence over the years, I wonder – was selling out to pure ignorance really worth it?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.



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