OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers are making a silent protest of owner Donald Sterling‘s purported comments urging a woman to not bring black people to his team’s games.
The Clippers ran out of the tunnel for Game 4 of their first-round playoff series at Golden State on Sunday wearing their warm-up uniforms.
They huddled together at center court and tossed their warm-ups to the ground and went 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. They all wore black socks with their normal jerseys.
“It’s just us, only us. We’re all we got,” Clippers star guard Chris Paul could be heard shouting to teammates before they ran out.
The Warriors’ sellout crowd of 19,596, decked out in gold shirts, booed the Clippers — as they always do — during introductions.
Sterling’s wife, Shelly, was sitting courtside across from the Clippers’ bench.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before the game that he would remain the only one to speak for the team on this, saying players want to remain focused on basketball. Even he, though, acknowledged that 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.”
“As much as this is about basketball, this is life,” Rivers added. “And our guys, they have family. They have friends. And that have cellphones. And I can’t imagine how much they’ve been pulled on and talked to and what you should do and what you shouldn’t do and what you should say.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who said Sterling would not be at the game, said at a press conference on Saturday he would wait until after the league’s investigation had concluded to decide whether to take action against the embattled owner.
Calabasas-based Nehoray Legal Group is representing Sterling’s mistress, V Stiviano, the woman Sterling is allegedly speaking to in the recording.
Attorney Mac E. Nehoray denied in a statement on Sunday that Stiviano released the tape, which was described as “legitimate.”
“Ms. Stiviano did not release the tape(s) to any news media,” the statement read in part.
Nehoray declined to elaborate on the recordings, citing present litigation stemming from a civil lawsuit brought against Stiviano by Donald Sterling’s wife, Rochelle H. Sterling.
Prior to the controversy, Sterling was slated to be honored with a lifetime achievement award by the L.A. chapter of the NAACP at the civil rights organization’s 100th anniversary gala banquet on May 15.
NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller said in a statement on Sunday those plans had been cancelled.
“The remarks attributed to Mr. Sterling are outrageous and remind us that racism is alive and well at every socioeconomic level. With the election of President Obama, many were sold the idea that the United States would be instantly transformed into a post racial society and racism would be eviscerated. People who bought that idea were sold wolf tickets,” Miller said in part.
She also urged others to speak out against discrimination.
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