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Clippers stage silent protest to owner

Clippers Take Unified Stand, Remove Shooting Shirts
BY ANTONIO GONZALEZ
AP SPORTS WRITER

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - 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.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
susandanielspi April 27 2014 at 5:10 PM

Silent protest? If they are really mad, why don't THEY walk out. And let see them find another job that pays that well.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
binn4life149 susandanielspi April 27 2014 at 11:53 PM

What about if the owner give up the team because there is no place for racism in NBA.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
spy2get April 27 2014 at 5:10 PM

Dear Clipper Players,
We are sorry to inform you that your paychecks will be issued a little later than usual this month!
Protest? Ah, we didn't hear anything about that.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
spy2get spy2get April 27 2014 at 5:12 PM

Miss a 'S', meant to type CLIPPERS PLAYERS!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
missmayberrync April 27 2014 at 5:10 PM

Let him withOUT sin throw the first stone........it happens everyday, with ALL races, of course NOT everyone makes these kinds of remarks, but there are alot that do........this is a surprise? It's ridiculous children, lets get on with more important issues. ( from what I understand he even has a black girlfriend, and he's racist) So BLOWN OUT of porportion ! sickening.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
bizzznesss April 27 2014 at 5:12 PM

All I can say is WOW, I cannot believe some of the comments here. I am so ashamed of some of the comments. It is embarrassing to say the least. We are all one race the HUMAN RACE it is time we acted like it

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Hello Diane April 27 2014 at 5:14 PM

As long as people fill the seats little will change. It is when, people unite and willing to hit him where it truly hurts, and that is his POCKET BOOK, will anything change. He is a billionaire, a fine will not hurt him. But empty seats will, failure to buy clippers paraphernalia will hurt him. Yes, the players will feel the heat, but those Jerseys, and other team gear are sanctioned by the NBA--they get a cut. No sales and the NBA takes a hit. Then and only then will we truly see a change of regime. He is what he is, call him whatever but the chances of changing him are about as good as me becoming 21 again! Not damn likely!

We the fans need to pony up and do the right thing!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
llgsto April 27 2014 at 5:19 PM

They have right to do this Maybe they will return their pay check too

Flag Reply +1 rate up
billyboowassuprapper April 27 2014 at 5:22 PM

What does NAACP stand for?

Something about colored people?

Wait ? What?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
orion15stars billyboowassuprapper April 27 2014 at 5:46 PM

Your racist point is...?!? They can refer to themselves anyway they please but it isn't racism for obvious reasons. They don't lie to themselves they aren't darker than Caucasians. Some Caucasians are much darker than others. When Caucasians use the same words, those words are meant to be deliberately derogatory because they are rooted in the Latin niger, which is the derogatory from of the word black in Latin. Explaining that to a racist is like explaining that to a wall, but then those words weren't intended for the beneficial benefit of racists.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
antonavb April 27 2014 at 5:23 PM

white stops black=predigist
black stop white=good man no problem

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
Mikerat42 antonavb April 27 2014 at 5:25 PM

Assume you mean prejudiced..

Flag Reply +1 rate up
jtobend antonavb April 27 2014 at 5:29 PM

suggest you look up spelling

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Phillip Lojek April 27 2014 at 5:23 PM

Let's have diversity in the NBA. I believe there are 12 players on the active roster. Since America is 13% black, 60% white and 25% Hispanic, let's have 2 black players, 7 white players and 3 Hispanics on every team.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
mqats Phillip Lojek April 27 2014 at 5:27 PM

Keep on jabbering. Keep it up. If you ever make any sense, it will be perfectly clear.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
rayray1074 April 27 2014 at 5:23 PM

He still goes to all the games

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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