Clippers dealing with Sterling comments

By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com


VIDEO: Commissioner Adam Silver’s statement on Donald Sterling

SAN FRANCISCO – An angry Doc Rivers, while conceding that reported racial comments by owner Donald T. Sterling are a distraction and that players briefly discussed a boycott to underline their united protest against them, insisted Saturday that the Clippers remain focused on their championship hopes and, most immediately, Game 4 on Sunday against the Warriors.

“I don’t know if I’m surprised or not,” Rivers, the coach and head of basketball operations, said of the recorded conversation — posted on the TMZ website — between a woman and a man identified as Sterling. “I didn’t like the comments, obviously.

“I’m going to tell you now I’m speaking on behalf of the team, so the players are not going to deal with this issue. We had a great team meeting this morning about it. A lot of guys voiced their opinions. None of them were happy about it. This is a situation where we’re trying to go after something very important for us, something that we’ve all dreamed about all our childhoods. Donald or anyone else had nothing to do with that dream. We’re not going to let anything get in the way of those dreams. As far as the comments, we were not happy with any of them. But we’re going to let the due process, everything, get handled, and that situation will be handled later. Right now, our goals haven’t changed. Our focus is on Golden State and it’s going to stay on Golden State.

“It does [impact]. But you’ve got to move on. I mean, what are we going to do? It has an impact and you move on. It upsets all of us. There’s not one guy that’s happy with this situation. Do you think I want to be talking about this instead of trying to stop Steph Curry? I don’t. I don’t like all the phone calls I’ve been getting and all that stuff. We try to keep clutter — it’s been our word all year, keeping clutter away from our team, and it’s been brought to our team. It upsets me. It upsets our team. Having said that, we have something that we’re playing for right now and we’re going to deal with that. The other stuff, we’ll deal with later.”

What the future implications could be were not immediately clear. But Rivers, speaking in a testy tone at odds with his jocular manner even in the most tense of playoff situations, made no attempt to cover for his boss. He circled the wagons and made sure everyone understood Sterling does not have a wagon.

Rivers was asked if he had talked to Sterling and said: “We have not. We have not tried, honestly. Like I said, this is something that Donald and his family and everyone else, they’re going to have to figure that part out. We don’t need a talk, all right? We don’t need that. We need to deal with Golden State.”

Do you want to talk to him?

“Not right now,” Rivers said after practice at the University of San Francisco in preparation for Game 4 in Oakland. “I want to deal with my team. This is a distraction. For me, I’m going to focus on my guys. I came here for them. They came here because of each other. Our goals have not changed. It’s like one of the players said. ‘Hey, when I was a kid and had a goal to win a world championship, it was to do that. It wasn’t to win a world championship for someone.’ And that’s our goal.

“Listen, they’re young men. It shouldn’t be African-American men. We have two white guys. It’s about being human. We’re not going to get to what race we are because we represent each other and this is our team and that’s the way we’re going to keep it. No one was happy about it. J.J. Redick was just as pissed as Chris Paul, and that’s the way it should be. Having said that, our goal is to win the NBA title and we’re not going to let anything stand in the way of that. That’s adversity that we didn’t want, but we have it, we have to deal with it. We’ll deal with it internally, but we’re not going to share it with anybody else.”

The idea of a boycott, as soon as Sunday at Oracle Arena, “was brought up because I’m sure 20,000 people have suggested it. But, honestly, I’m completely against that and they were too. Why should we let someone’s comments stop what we’re trying to do? We’re trying to do something too here and we don’t want that [Sterling] to get in the way of what we want to do.”

A reporter suggested the issue of racial insensitivity is bigger than the game.

“For you,” Rivers shot back. “Yeah, it’s easy for you to say. You haven’t worked since [you were] 2 years old to win a title. So, yeah, that’s simple. ‘It’s bigger than the game.’ For you it may be. Right now, this game is business for us and we’re trying to win a title and we’re not going to allow something to get in the way. The league is going to handle this. The players association will handle this as well. As a group, what we have to do is stay together. I think the biggest statement we could make as men — as men, not as black men, as men — is to stick together and show how strong we are as a group. Not splinter. Not walk. It’s easy to protest. The protest will be in our play.”


VIDEO: The Inside the NBA panel weighs in on the Donald Sterling controversy

42 Comments

  1. jambamania says:

    STERLING IS JEWISH. Google it. From a PBS document shown on tv a few years back, there were at least 15 million Jewish people (mostly from Eastern Europe) living in the N.E. part of the USA about 100 years ago. Now the census show only 100,000 Jewish people live in the whole USA. WHAT IS GOING ON? Millions of US Jews must be getting away as some other ethnic backgrounds?

  2. Sue Smith says:

    I don’t get it. This was a personal conversation between this man and his girlfriend. One tends to says all kinds of things in the heat of an argument. It seems that he was very insecure about what his girlfriend was doing with these men and expressed it through racial comments. I am sure if one of the black players found his wife/girlfriend hanging out and posting pictures with with a many different white men and women and we taped their personal conversations you would hear explicate racial comments about the whites she was hanging out with. We are over the top sensitive about this racist thing. We threaten livelihood, which is their constitutional right, of everyone who doesn’t believe the way we think they should. Double standard.

  3. AJC says:

    Sad state of affairs for the league and for the nation that racism still exists. Sterling’s past lawsuits are indeed proof of his behavior. Past behavior is almost always indicative of future behavior. It appears nothing has changed except the date on the calendar. There’s no place for intolerance in professional sports, and I am sure the league will do the right thing.

  4. pears009 says:

    Okay, well my comment/comments are NOT posting… (Here it is , SIMPLIFIED)… If the Old-Racist (i.e. Sterling) OWNS the Clippers, (The CLIPPERS are HIS property, right???) HOW can the NBA FORCE him to sell the team??? (e.x. If I own a house, how can a person/group FORCE me to sell my OWN property???) I can see, BANING him form the NBA/The League/All NBA related events/Games, BUT, how does Adam Silver and The NBA FORCE him to sell???

    Thoughts and input GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!!

    • slider821 says:

      Owning an NBA franchise is not the same as owning personal property such a real estate. Sterling is the team owner but he still represets the NBA brand. This type of thing happens a lot with CEOs or others stating a personal opinion that hurts the image of the brand they are representing. Another example would be the CEO of Mozilla Firefox donating money to Prop 8 in California.

      It was a personal donation completely unrelated to the company but he still represents the Mozilla brand and that was detrimental to the brand image. He wasn’t forced out as folks hope will happen to Sterling, but he recognized that he hurt his brand by doing so and would continue to hurt the brand if he stayed on as CEO, so he stepped down.

      This has happened in other sports leagues as well and owners have been forced to sell or resign. Owning an NBA team is not the same as owning some a house. I’m surprised the difference needed to be explained…

  5. J says:

    wow the media has really blown this whole thing up. so what if he is a racist or not he still pays them for their services. he doesn’t deny service to African Americans going to games. he hasn’t hurt any one in any way shape or form. sure he might be ignorant for not liking a person just for his or her skin color but so what! how does his thinking hurt any one.

  6. Tony says:

    Donald Sterling is NOT a racist. I repeat, he is not a racist. I come to this conclusion after listening to the 10 minute recording.

  7. Clips says:

    Seriously can everyone settle down until it’s proven to be real and him and all that?

    I don’t like racism and I don’t like angry mobs. They’re both equally as stupid and dangerous.

  8. Luis says:

    You play and you perpetuate the ideology that the white man is superior to the black man. Silence and throwing jerseys on the floor is not symbolic enough. Make a true historic statement, a paradigm shift on par with 1968, and sit out the playoffs! Breach the contract!

  9. Eric Rasmussen says:

    Yes, the ex-girlfriend is being sued. She is being sued by the wife, who wants the ex-GF to return the gifts and money Mr. Sterling gave her. But they were gifts to the ex-GF. They are now hers. Here in LA Mr. Sterling is well known as a slumlord who forces out African-American and Hispanic families so that he can rent the apartments to whites. He paid restitution for that but he clearly has not changed his views or inclinations. If you read the statement issued by his family it is clear that they do not deny that Mr. Sterling said what was recorded. I hope the NBA moves swiftly to use its powers and maintains the prestige of the league.

  10. Ray says:

    Now we have all these rich NBA moralist , they are such hypocrites , they want all these huge amounts of money and live these huge lavish life styles but they have a problems with private expressive views ( like no one has ever said something in private that would be offensive). NBA players calling Donald to be out should give up their riches if they really care about people .

  11. hilly says:

    is isnt racist its a old man trying to save face because his gold digging girlfriend brings other guys to games and he is embarressed

  12. Miami says:

    Yes Donald Sterling views and beliefs are racist but lets not let one man’s ignorance bring hatred to white people in general, or any race. I’m black and I have many close friends of different ethnicity, white, asian, hispanic, indian, and etc who don’t share his thoughts and beliefs. Look at everyone individually, and not at their ethnicity. Not every single person from one ethnicity share the same views or act the same way.

  13. cp10 says:

    @germany, you’re right, I listened to the whole thing on youtube TMZ. OMG this poor sap is being blackmailed!!! HAHA! Good lord this GF is a gold-digging pyscho!! Donald Sterling doesn’t hate, he just got goaded into saying things he doesn’t mean (which wasn’t much), we all do that when we argue especially arguing with a psycho. What he said was taken out of context!! By the way, I figure Donald doesn’t like Magic because Magic was a Laker, and his GF exploited it. “Why are you forcing this down my throat.. I’ve known [Magic] well and he should be admired.” OMG this Donald guy is being blackmailed!!! Ahahhah!! ps, yes I have been discriminated against but I don’t hate back, that’s the key bro, no need to hate, many times discrimination/racism is just a human tendency, we all do it, but as long as we balance it out it works out.

  14. David says:

    The bigger question is, whom is sterling referring to as his circle of friends??? Obviously, he and his NBA Owner Pals have had this discussion privately which gave him empowerment to make the racists comments made. His done this with his circle-of-friend before.

  15. Lip Show says:

    Oh my god. You gullible dufuses. The audio is edited and fabricated in a revenge plot from this gold-digger girlfriend. It’s her payback for getting caught stealing 2 million dollars from this guy. It’s perfect timing. Playoffs. I don’t like Sterling anyway but you guys are making this WAY bigger than it needs to be. Like the song goes…”Let it Go!”

    • rob says:

      man, he’s done it before and he’ll do it again. racism exists in peoples hearts, its deeply rooted. listen, what does it mean to be a racist and date a black/mexican chick? what does it mean to be a racist and own a basketball team in a black league? man, this stuff cannot be let go.

    • justmythoughts says:

      she didnt piece his words together to make him say that and she damn sure didnt make him say the things he said… it doesnt matter whether the tape is in chronological order or if things were left out…. he said what he said so how about you stop being gullible and falling for the cover up

  16. germany says:

    @cp10..Obviously, you don’t know anything about racism and you have never had racism pointed at you. If, you don’t know what was said, you should listen to the taped conversation. Whoever is speaking (Mr. Sterling??) is a racist and this person is talking derogatory about black people. If, nothing derogatory was said, why is everyone upset? The players from the Clippers, players in general and the NBA are upset over these comments. Everybody in the USA is shocked over this leaked tape. It doesn’t matter if someone was set up or not. These racist comments should have never been made and definitely not in public, from someone with so much power and influence. The racist allegation was already brought a few times in the past against Mr. Sterling. @OKC 2014. I hope you’re wrong that this will sooner or later be forgotten without consequences. I don’t think the NBA players are going to let this happen. Doc Rivers has made a statement and Lebron James also. Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith have also made comments, that Sterling should be suspended. This will not be forgotten without some type of consequence. Germany

    • Common Sense says:

      All of those comments shouldn’t have been made yet, as the NBA is currently investigating whether the person on that tape is actually Sterling, if it’s not, then THIS ISN’T REAL! IF IT ISN’T REAL he shouldn’t be suspended and everyone that made any comments about this SHOULD PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE TO STERLING. I don’t like Sterling one bit, but this is a country that is supposed to believe in innocent until proven guilty and my idol MLK Jr. would be the first one to speak about tolerance and for Barkley, James, Smith, and everyone else, that everyone has a place in the NBA, everyone has a place everywhere, and we must love people like this, then educate them, and then help them to see the light! Not hate them, shun them, and create a planet only for people that BELONG

  17. azzazel says:

    We hope that the NBA’S investigation will be swift…AMERICA does not tolerate this kind of AS$****….!!!! anymore

  18. kobeballhog says:

    he is a billionaire so he can have 20 year old girlfriends anytime he wants to lol. just like hugh hefner how old is he and yet he got tons of playmates

  19. Mack McGuire says:

    All you lite weights, who are defending Sterling because he owns a BB team you root for are deeply perverted. Your scale of decency is atrophied. There is a lot of evil in this world and the reason it exists is because money buys it.

    If the Clippers came to the Warriors team and asked them to stand side by side with them in protest and refused to play the next game the Warriors would do it. Every time you take his money you serve his evil. It’s time to stop this .This is about human kindness, human respect. It is about perspective. This game means nothing compared to the sickness it feeds.

    Some of you will still want to talk about referees, flopping, cheating and whose going to win. You will mock me and my message. So be it. But we all know who the losers are.

    • Common Sense says:

      If they protested the game that would be dumb. It would simply be telling people that this is wrong but there are better ways to do that. The only people that lose in sitting out would be the players and the fans, and Golden State wouldn’t do it, as it’s possibly their last home game for the playoffs. Sterling spent a lot of money for his legacy not to make money by winning a championship. The man is old and has enough money. Honestly, his reputation is destroyed and now would have to fear for his life every game he would go to, because some of the most famous basketball players in the world are saying they approve boycotting him. I wouldn’t be surpirsed if some crazy fan did something stupid to honor their favorite players comments.. People like Lebron should be careful. First this was a private conversation. Second, this is still technically under review of whether it is REAL or not. Third, where do we end??? If this was a private conversation that was leaked, can any person illegally record other NBA owners/Players and come out with what they’ve said. Many owners don’t like gay people, are sexist, and as prejudice is very common, I’m sure they’ve said things about Asians and Driving, or Jewish people and money… People are horrible in many ways and maybe the answer to this is to show tolerance, not punishment. And educate the world why this is a dated why of believing, instead of angering the people that agree with him by suspending him.

    • Game Time says:

      I feel where you’re coming from. I don’t think protesting the game will result in any better outcome. The simple answer is to have the NBA (quickly) see if there is way to have Sterling replaced, resign or bought out from ownership. Some (morons) on here are trying to indirectly defend him with legalities of recordings and other nonsense.

  20. rob says:

    listen guys, sterling should go. period. like lebron said, there is no room for biggots like him in the league. i think the league has to take swift action. racist people should not be profiting. period. if he doesn’t want black people at games, man think about that, and connect it to the history of the usa, he thinks he owns a bunch of black guys so they could only entertain white guys. seriously, lebron is right, NO ROOM FOR STERLING IN THE NBA!

    • Common Sense says:

      Black guys to entertain white guys? I understand you are angry that racist people still exist on this planet and I don’t understand it either. But to banish people you don’t understand is similar to what they do in being racist. The only answer to racism is tolerance and education, and banishing him from the NBA is saying that we are not tolerant of racism, and promotes secrecy. He didn’t go out in a CNN interview and say this stuff, he didn’t tweet it or post it on his facebook. This was a private conversation that was ILLEGALLY leaked. I don’t condone the insensitive viewpoint, but attacking hate with hate is the exact opposite of what Martin Luther King, Jr would do. The King would preach tolerance and education, not punishment and hate

      • rob says:

        alright man, so we should be tolerant of nazism next right?

      • rob says:

        and yeah, he said he doesn’t what black’s at his games, so yeah, black guys to entertain white guys is exactly what it is.

      • rob says:

        @common sense, what you’re saying is we should all be tolerant of kkk next as well. citing martin luther king to defend a racist is disgusiting.

        THE CLIP’S ARE AN AWESOME TEAM WITH A GOOD SHOT AT WINNING A TITLE. THEY SHOULD WIN IT FOR THEMSELVES!

        RIP OFF THE CLIPPER’S LOGO. THEY SHOULD STILL PLAY, BUT RENAME THE TEAM. AND MAKE SURE NO MORE MONEY GOES TO A GUY LIKE THAT.

        AND IT DOESN’T MATTER THAT THIS STUFF WAS SAID IN PRIVATE! THAT IS CALLED “MODERN PREJUDICE” – YOU KNOW WHO ELSE IS PART OF THIS COOL CLUB OF MODERN PREJUDICE? THE KKK, SKINHEADS AND ALL THOSE OTHER F**CKS.

        LETS NOT LET PEOPLE LIKE STERLING RUIN THE NBA’S AMAZING AND INCLUSIVE REPUTATION. I MEAN COME ON MAN, THIS LEAGUE IS A MODEL FOR INCLUSION. FIRST OPENLY GAY MAN PLAYS IN THE NBA. FIRST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD WITH WOMEN REFS.

        AND WHAT? NOW, THE NBA WILL BE THE FIRST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD WITH AN OPENLY RACIST GUY?

        NO ROOM FOR HIM HERE. LET HIM GO TO HIS KKK MEETINGS, BUT NOT ANOTHER NBA GAME!!!!

      • Game Time says:

        LMAO, you always seem to make the comments that go against what the logical thing to do is. You’re either a troll, a piece of trash like Sterling, or just a really miserable person. Common sense would say “If I don’t like black people, I probably shouldn’t be around them myself” I.E. OWNING A PRO BASKETBALL TEAM! Nor should I be dating a woman that is considered black to most people. Are you really that stupid? And on the point of the tape being illegal. He’s not being sued and the tape isn’t being presented as evidence in a legal setting. That’s just as stupid as a criminal saying “It was illegal for someone to photograph me robbing a bank, therefore you can’t use that against me”.

  21. Are we stuck in the 1950's...? says:

    THEY WILL NOT ENTER THE PROMISED LAND… 40 YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS.

    IF U LOVE THE PAST SO MUCH… STAY IN IT…

    OR U CAN MAN UP & REPENT!!!!!!!!!

    ONE LOVE

  22. cp10 says:

    I’m confused, Sterling is married yet he has a girlfriend? Past that, he is in his 80’s but his girlfriend looks to be in her 20’s! Last, from his family’s statement, it does sounds like he got set up but of course I don’t know the guy. Maybe whatever he said was taken out of context, as an owner he shouldn’t say things like that but then again it doesn’t seem like he said anything that is disparaging to blacks – what if he said don’t bring any whites to my games? Hmmm…

    • Common Sense says:

      Tolerance and education…it’s refreshing to get a viewpoint without all the hate. I would add to your comment…This EX-GIRLFRIEND that illegally leaked this conversation, is currently being sued by the family and has vowed to get even…

      • rob says:

        EVERYONE SHOULD READ @COMMONSENSE’S comments!!!!!!

        THIS GUY IS RACIST.

        SO WHAT IF HIS GIRLFRIEND WAS OUT FOR REVENGE?

        MAN, LIKE I SAID BEFORE, HE’S DONE THIS RACIST S*IT BEFORE AND HE’LL DO IT AGAIN. HE WAS ONLY CAUGHT A FEW TIMES. IMAGAINE THE KIND OF CRAZY RACIST STUFF HE SAID TO THIS WOMAN IN PRIVATE. SO WHAT IF SHE IS A GOLD DIGGER TO A OLD RACIST WHITE DUDE. THAT SHOULD BE LEGAL. WE SHOULD ALL STEAL FROM OLD RACIST WHITE DUDES.

        MAN, YOU POSTED SO MUCH DEFENDING THIS GUYS. OBAMA, JORDAN, LEBRON, MAGIC, DOC RIVERS, SHAQ, KENNY, CHUCK, ERNIE, EVERYONE KNOWS THERE IS NO PLACE FOR HIM.

        MAGIC SAID IT BEST YO, PART OF THE REASON THIS LEAGUE IS GOOD IS BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS PLAY TOGETHER.

    • Game Time says:

      If you’re confused as to how an 80yr old billionaire can have a 20 year old GF and wife, then you probably should stay away from conversations about discrimination.

      And just to entertain you’re last question. He didn’t say anything like that. Trying to divert the point shows you have nothing of sense to contribute. Good day, and good luck in life.

      • cp10 says:

        @Game Time, sounds like it all makes perfect sense to you lol, but you’re right, I’ll take back my last point. Anyway, I listened to the recording and heard a rich old man being exploited by some crazy psycho, he’s a creep from what I hear but who are we to judge people we don’t know? Besides, he just seems to prefer white or latina, just like MJ does (ok, I’ll take that back too, don’t get mad)

      • basketball e says:

        @cp10 The sad thing is your more worried about some old rich guy that cheats on his wife with a 20 year old being exploited for money, but try to downplay the way he feels toward a certain group of human beings.

        Nothing disparaging? What if a black guy was saying that about white people? That would be disparaging. Especially if he was the owner of a business where it was predominantly white people working. Imagine if Walmart had a black CEO and he was recorded saying disparaging remarks about white people working under him? If it came out on in the media he would probably be canned or they would make him resign.

        We don’t know the guy personally or if he likes corn flakes or cheerios, but what we do know is that he is the owner of a basketball team that is predominantly black, and how he feels about blacks. So that is what he is being judged on..

      • cp10 says:

        @basketball e, I did not hear any racist comments in the 10 minute covert recording, but I just learned it actually went for a full hour, so there’s stuff in there that I haven’t heard which might change my mind. Anyway, we all have views and opinions on race. You talk like you’re some saint, no one is. The guy Donald seems to be a creep, his GF is a nut-case, and who knows what else runs in that family. If I heard someone talk negatively about my race, I wouldn’t crucify them, because I respect their view, even though it may be negative. Doesn’t mean they are racist. If you want to see racism, look up the neo-Nazis and the soccer hoodlums and the white supremacists.

  23. okc2014 says:

    This is going to pan out like that missing plane that supposedly went down in the Indian Ocean. It will be in the news for weeks and weeks with no actual conclusion.