The silent demonstration came as Sterling faced a firestorm of
criticism over a 10-minute recording obtained by celebrity news
website TMZ in which a man reported to be the NBA owner tells a
woman not to post photographs of herself with black people online
and not to bring African-Americans to Clippers games.
The taped remarks rocked the National Basketball Association (NBA),
where most of the players are black, and left its officials
scrambling to address the scandal that has threatened to overshadow
Ahead of the game against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland,
Clippers players gathered at center court, dropped sweat-jackets
with the team's name around the tip-off circle and then came out
with their warm-up jerseys inside-out, keeping the "Clippers" name
off of their chests.
The players had discussed boycotting the game, star guard Chris Paul
told reporters. They came out for the game in their normal jerseys,
but with black socks and bands that game announcers said were also
part of a protest.
Players did not speak of the clothing protest ahead of the game.
Sterling did not attend and the Clippers lost the game, 97-118 as
their opponents, the Golden State Warriors, evened the playoff
series at two games each.
Afterward Clippers coach Doc Rivers declined to blame the loss on
the furor, saying that the Warriors had outplayed his team and
taking responsibility for failing to prepare them mentally for the
"Certainly I believe everybody was affected by what took place. I
don't think it was just the Clippers. I think it's insulting to all
of us. I think both teams were somewhat bothered by what took place
the last 24 hours," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
Sterling, who made his fortune in real estate, has not made any
public comment. Clippers President Andy Roeser has issued a
statement saying he had listened to the recording on TMZ and had not
yet determined if it was legitimate or had been "altered" somehow.
"Mr Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is
not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or
feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and
how he has lived his life," Roeser said in the statement.
"DON'T BRING HIM TO MY GAMES"
The recording appears to be part of an argument between Sterling and
a model who uses the name V. Stiviano about photographs posted to
Instagram. "People call you and tell you that I have black people on
my Instagram. And it bothers you," the voice alleged to be
Stiviano's says, according to the recording at TMZ.com. She also
says she herself is of Latino and black heritage. "Yeah, it bothers
me a lot that you want to promo ... broadcast that you're
associating with black people. Do you have to?" the voice alleged to
be Sterling's says. Sterling is also allegedly heard telling the
woman not to post photos of herself with Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
"And don't bring him to my games, OK?"
Johnson, a former Los Angeles Lakers star, during the broadcast of
the game on Sunday called on Sterling to give up his ownership of
the team if the comments were proven to be his.
"When you've got the president of the United States saying this is
bad, you've got all the fans around country, of different races
around country saying this is bad, it's time," Johnson said.
President Barack Obama, who was asked about the controversy while
traveling in Malaysia, said the comments were "incredibly offensive
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"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don't
really have to do anything, you just let them talk," Obama said when
asked about the controversy during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur
with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
NBA INVESTIGATING, PLAYERS WANT ACTION
The NBA has said it was investigating the recording, described by
Commissioner Adam Silver as "truly offensive and disturbing". It
could make a ruling by Tuesday, TV network ABC reported in its game
Sacramento mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson, who is
assisting the players' union on Sterling, said if the allegations
are true, the players want swift and extreme action by NBA
commissioner Adam Silver.
"They are just outraged," Johnson told ABC in an interview at
Sunday’s game. "The players want their voices to be heard. They
don't want Adam Silver to just make the decision without their
input. Thirdly, they want swift and decisive action. They want Adam
to be as extreme and to do the maximum whatever the sanctions are
allowed based on the bylaws and the constitution."
"This is a binding moment in the history of the NBA," said Johnson,
who met with Silver on Sunday.
The NAACP said on Sunday that the nation's oldest civil rights group
will not honor Sterling with a lifetime achievement award it planned
to give the Clippers owner next month because of the controversy
over the comments.
Sports news website Deadspin on Sunday posted more excerpts from
what is said was a conversation between Sterling and the same woman.
On it, Sterling is asked why he has a dim view of blacks, especially
since his team has many black players.
"I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and
houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? ...
Do I make the game, or do they make the game?" he is alleged to have
Sterling has faced allegations of discriminatory conduct in the
past. In 2009, he paid $2.7 million to settle a case brought by the
U.S. Justice Department which accused him of housing discrimination
against blacks and Hispanics.
(Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz, Ben Everill, Gene Cherry,
Matt Spetalnick and Ronald Grover; editing by Lynne O'Donnell and
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