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Clippers stage silent protest to owner

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:41 a.m. HST, Apr 28, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. >> The Los Angeles Clippers chose not to speak publicly about owner Donald Sterling before they faced the Golden State Warriors for Game 4 of their first-round series Sunday. Instead, they made a silent protest to generate attention.

In response to Sterling's purported comments urging a woman to not bring black people to his team's games, the Clippers let their uniforms become a show of solidarity.

They ran out of the tunnel wearing their usual warmups. Then they huddled at center court and tossed the outer layer of their warmups to the ground, going through their pregame routine with their red Clippers' shirts on inside out to hide the team's logo.

Players also wore black wristbands or armbands during the game, which they lost 118-97. They also donned black socks with their normal jerseys.

"It's just us, only us. We're all we got," Clippers point guard Chris Paul could be heard shouting to teammates before they ran out.

The Warriors' announced sellout crowd of 19,596, decked out in gold shirts, booed the Clippers -- as they always do -- during team introductions.

Sterling's wife, Shelley, was sitting courtside across from the Clippers' bench. Commissioner Adam Silver had said Donald Sterling would not be at the game.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said prior that he would remain the only one to speak for the team on the issue because players wanted to remain focused on basketball. Afterward, Rivers said he knew what his players had planned but didn't voice his opinion.

River said he wasn't thrilled about the demonstration, though he didn't elaborate why. Even he, though, acknowledged that staying focused has not been easy since TMZ released the alleged recording of Sterling on Saturday.

"Our message is to play," Rivers said. "Our message is that we're going to let no one and nothing stop us from what we want to do. And I think that's a good message. I really do. I think that's the message we're trying to send. And if we can pull this off all the way, I think that would be a terrific message."

In an overcrowded postgame locker room, most of the Clippers' players deflected comment or refused to answer questions related to Sterling -- other than to say they remain united and focused on basketball.

Shooting guard J.J. Redick, who is white, said the controversy has impacted everybody on the team and around the league. He also admitted it might've effected their preparation.

"Maybe our focus wasn't in the right place would be the easiest way to say it," Redick said. "I didn't get the sense that we couldn't function. I thought we competed, but give them a lot of credit as well. It wasn't just the distraction of everything that has happened in the last 24 hours. Golden State played a great basketball game, let's keep that in mind."

While the Clippers wanted to let their play do the talking, other NBA players continued to speak out on the subject.

Some talked about the hurt Sterling's alleged words caused. Others urged Silver to take an aggressive stance against Sterling, who has a history of alleged discrimination. Most of them hoped Sterling would be removed as the team's owner someday soon.

Miami Heat star LeBron James said Silver needed to take action, going so far as to suggest "there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league." Lakers star Kobe Bryant wrote on his Twitter page that he couldn't play for Sterling. Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who played for the Clippers from 1992-94, said he could forgive Sterling but couldn't play for him right now, either.

Asked if he needed to hear something from the league or Sterling to return as coach next year, Rivers said he didn't know and he was just concentrating on the playoff series.

The players union, still without an executive director since firing Billy Hunter in February 2013, is following the situation closely. The union has asked former NBA All-Star and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to take a leading role on the players' behalf to address the Sterling matter.

Johnson and Silver attended the game Sunday. Johnson said he called an emergency phone meeting of every player representative to the union Saturday night and spoke with Silver before the game. He said this is a "defining moment" for the NBA and for Silver.

Johnson said players trust that the commissioner will meet their demands, which include: Sterling not attend any NBA games for the rest of the playoffs; a full account of past allegations of discrimination by Sterling and why the league never sanctioned him; the range of options that the league can penalize Sterling, including the maximum penalty, which players want if the audio recording is validated; assurance that the NBA and the union will be partners in the investigation; and an immediate and decisive ruling, hopefully before the Clippers host the Warriors for Game 5 on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

Johnson also said there will be no league-wide protest by players or a boycott because there's enough attention on the issue already and that players "trust Adam Silver. They trust that Adam Silver will do the right thing."


AP Sports Writer Joseph White in Washington contributed to this report.

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serious wrote:
I think the basketball players should form a united front and not accept their salaries from a racist!!!
on April 27,2014 | 12:57PM
oxtail01 wrote:
If you think it's limited to one guy in basketball, you're not serious. Of course you're not serious - your flippant response to a serious issue exposes you clearly.
on April 27,2014 | 01:32PM
kiana33 wrote:
I think you're 100% correct. I for one am so sick of all these racial stories that only have to do with black people. What about other minorities that get racial slurs thrown at them, you don't see that plastered all over the media, only "blacks" seem to garner that kind of news. I don't know about anyone else but it sure seems that after a black president was voted in all hell broke loose regarding racism. I think the bigger problem is that people of all racial back grounds get discriminated on and the media only makes it front page news for days on end if it concerns a rich white person saying something about blacks. If this guy didn't own a NBA team no body would give a darn.
on April 27,2014 | 03:13PM
serious wrote:
I was making a mockery out of the situation. If we had picked our own cotton 100 years ago would there be an NBA? I invest in stocks--I don't smoke, I hate it, but MO pays over 5% and has increased their dividends every year for 40 years--I like the stock but not the product. Where else could Afro Americans make that sort of money? They get college scholarships for 5 years---how many graduate??? Look at the cities with black majorities---Chicago just passed 40 shootings this weekend--and I don't mean hoops!!
on April 27,2014 | 04:16PM
BigOpu wrote:
They'll continue to play...they're getting paid millions. I would. Will they re-sign under this owner is the question. To say lets do it for the team is nice to hear, but counters what the minority players should be against. You're still making millions for the one who spits on you, and he'll just laugh all the way to the bank. Sterling is exposed...again.
on April 27,2014 | 01:14PM
honopic wrote:
Good may come of this situation. Sterling has a past history, and because he's an owner, has gotten away with flaunting his racism. Now that it's out in the open, he can't run, he can't hide. He has been exposed as a modern-day Marge Schott, who had to sell her controlling interest in the Cincinnati Reds after calling two of her own players "million-dollar ni**ers, saying "I would rather have a trained monkey working for me than a ni**er", saying "sneaky goddam Jews are all alike", "only fruits wear earrings", and didn't understand how the word "Jap" could be offensive. If the NBA forces Sterling to sell the team, an important message will be sent. If not, the Clippers will go from a potential champion to the bottom of the league, as players and coaches leave and draftees refuse to sign with the team.
on April 27,2014 | 01:53PM
false wrote:
Lost in all of the emotional charges of racism is the tape itself. It was secretly taped by the girlfriend, not wife, during an angry exchange between Sterling and the gf. Interesting that she was being accused of embezzling millions from the family at that time. Racism aside, to me, it seems like she was trying to insure a payout from her old sugardaddy. How many of us utter biased feelings in the security of our homes?
on April 27,2014 | 02:27PM
CaraKF wrote:
Just another example of someone/anyone being exploited for money.
on April 27,2014 | 04:56PM
iwanaknow wrote:
For a 81 year old Jewish white man and a 20 something year old mistress/girlfriend who is half Black and 1/2 Mexican.........most interesting. Let the drama unfold.
on April 27,2014 | 09:04PM
WalkoffBalk wrote:
He can't be a racist. He's having sex with a woman of color. Allegedly.
on April 27,2014 | 09:27PM
iwanaknow wrote:
oop's the girl is 38!
on April 27,2014 | 09:38PM
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