Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clippers play on, silently protest Sterling amid furor

Two Warriors fans at Sunday’s game mock Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who is accused of making racist comments.


Two Warriors fans at Sunday’s game mock Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who is accused of making racist comments.

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Clippers chose not to speak publicly about owner Donald Sterling before they faced the Warriors in Sunday's Game 4 of their playoff series. Instead, they made a silent protest to generate attention.

In response to Sterling's purported comments urging a woman not to 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 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.

"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 of 19,596 booed the Clips — as always — during introductions.

Sterling's wife, Rochelle, sat courtside across from the team's bench. She told ESPN: "I don't condone those statements, and I don't believe in them. I'm not a racist. Never have been, never will be. The team is the most important thing to my family."

Commissioner Adam Silver had said Donald Sterling would not be at the game.

A recording, purportedly of Sterling and released by TMZ, is the latest in a series of allegations of racial and gender discrimination against Sterling, a real estate mogul and the longest-tenured team owner in a league whose player pool is more than three-quarters African-American.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before the game he would be the only one to speak for the team on the issue because players wanted to focus on basketball.

But Rivers said all options were discussed before the game, even a player boycott. "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."

Condemnation of Sterling came from far and wide, from inside the NBA and out.

"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk," President Barack Obama said. "That's what happened here."

"As an owner, I'm obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views," Bobcats owner Michael Jordan said.

Sterling was to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP next month, but the organization said it has rescinded the award.

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.

The audio purportedly catches Sterling arguing with a female friend, identified as V. Stiviano, criticizing her for posting pictures of herself online with black men, including former Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people," a voice, said to belong to Sterling, is heard to say on the recording.

Rochelle Sterling last month filed a lawsuit against Stiviano, saying she owed the Sterlings money because her husband showered Stiviano with millions of dollars' worth of gifts.

Johnson said he would never attend another Clippers game as long as Sterling owned the club and called for the league to "come down hard," even saying Sterling should be ousted from the league.

Clippers play on, silently protest Sterling amid furor 04/27/14 [Last modified: Monday, April 28, 2014 12:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing


    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Daniel Robertson walks off the field after being left stranded at first base to end the game.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.