Cosmos host and world-famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson may have been brash in declaring that Pluto is not a planet, but when it comes to the human condition — specifically the condition of horrible racist NBA team owner Donald Sterling — the man of science encourages empathy. “It’s interesting how people can say one thing, and then everyone wants to completely end their career in whatever they are doing,” Tyson told Intelligencer at last night’s annual gala for the National Dance Institute. “I think if he’s contrite about it and asks forgiveness, and maybe goes into some sessions with people to sensitize him to language and how to use it, I think that [Sterling] can be redeemed.” But he may need a career change.
“You know, if [he has] a pattern of this kind of talk, then he’s in the wrong business,” Tyson continued. “It’s hard to be in the NBA and not be photographed with black people. You know, that would be really hard! You’d have to perform magic to avoid being photographed. It’s an odd comment. But, people make odd comments. Look at the guy from Seinfeld …”
Still, “We’re human, we make mistakes, and I might be more forgiving than others,” he concluded sagely. “But life is very complex. And to indict the rest of someone’s life on one thing they say — give them a chance to redeem themselves.”