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Clippers coach Rivers declines chance to speak with Sterling

Rivers Believes Sterling Made Comments

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he declined a chance to speak with owner Donald Sterling, who is alleged to have made racist comments in a recorded conversation.

"I was asked, do I need to talk with Donald, and I passed, quite honestly," Rivers said Monday. "I don't think right now is the time or the place, for me, at least. I just took a pass."

Sterling is purported to have told a woman not to bring black people to his games or associate with them.

"Yeah, I believe he said those things. But I still want to make sure," Rivers said during a conference call. "As far as believing those things? I heard what he said. Until someone tells me differently, you usually listen to what people say. I haven't given him his due process. I haven't given him an opportunity to explain himself and quite honestly right now I don't want him to. I want to wait for that further judgment."

The coach canceled practice Monday, a day after a 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors that evened their playoff series at 2-2.

"I just felt like they needed to breathe. They've been inundated with this," Rivers said.

Still, he said pretty much the entire team was at the club's practice facility.

"I'll go down and say hi to them and talk to them, make sure they're in the right place. Right now it's more than basketball. This is a non-basketball decision that I thought I had to make and I thought it was right decision. If you get your life better, then you can probably do your work better. They need to do that."

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

"These last 48 hours or so have been really hard for our players and everyone," Rivers said. "I'd just like to reiterate how disappointed I am in the comments attributed to our owner. I can't tell you how upset I am, our players are."

Warriors coach Mark Jackson suggested that Clippers fans should boycott the game.

"I believe if it was me, I wouldn't come to the game," Jackson said. "I believe the fans, the loudest statement that they can make as fans is to not show up to the game. ... To me, it will make the noise of it not being tolerated. That this is a different time. It's unfortunate, and we cannot allow someone with these feelings to profit."

Rivers said he knew Jackson was speaking from his heart and that everyone has their opinion.

"I don't share that. I hope it's packed and people are cheering for us, the players. And they were cheering for the players before this happened. But if they feel differently, who can say they're wrong? And I'm not the one that's going to say that, I can tell you that."

Rivers said it's still to be determined whether he or a player will address the crowd.

"Again, we don't know the right answer," Rivers said. "We want to do right here. We want to make the best decisions here. If we feel that's something will help our fans, then it will be done. If we feel it's something they don't need, we won't do it. The tickets have already been sold. The fans, they're in a dilemma as well. We want them to cheer for their players and their team. Because it's still their players and their team, and it will be their players and their team. I think from what I get from the fans I've heard from, that's how they feel, like, `This is my team, these are my players I'm cheering for, and that's not going to change.' I hope that continues."

Rivers said the controversy has been tough on his players.

"What other players are going through `Should I be playing' thoughts in the middle of a playoff series? I sympathize for my players. They didn't sign on for this. Yet here they are and they're in the middle of it and they have to deal with it. They didn't do anything wrong and they're in the middle of it, and they didn't ask to be. I feel terrible for them. I'm going to try to do whatever I can to make them OK."

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socaboy96 April 29 2014 at 7:07 AM

I'm sure I will get beat up for this but it should be said, as Americans our first and most precious right is Freedom of Speech, which becomes even more precious when the speech is in private, this conversation was done in private and illegally recorded and released. While I don’t condone the content of the speech I do support Sterling's right to say whatever he wants in private, otherwise we erode our first amendment rights and we the people will be responsible for taking away our own rights that our forefathers felt were one of the most important for a free country.

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3 replies
Escalonz April 29 2014 at 11:08 AM

Will we all be as enraged as we are at Sterling's words when police brutality again's black people occurs and black teenage mobs attack whites? Should we not be just as enraged at racist acts of violence as we are at racist words? Liberal media, are you understanding your journalistic duty to society and reporting the whole truth and not from your opinionated view point?

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1 reply
Josey Escalonz April 29 2014 at 11:19 AM

Well said. WELL SAID. Damn press. None of them are honest, hard working Americans. The only thing they want to do is increase their ratings; most of the time at some one else's expense.

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tjlstl April 29 2014 at 11:12 AM

Wow, this man is getting the shaft because he didn't want his whooor GF dating in front of him and boasting online. I wonder if the Obama DOJ is going to do a blackmail investigation. There is no doubt that this occured.

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1 reply
pboucard50 tjlstl April 29 2014 at 11:26 AM

LEVITICUS 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

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alans022 April 29 2014 at 11:13 AM

arrest her for extortion. The estranged wife is suing her for playing her old fool of a hubby for $2 million worth of houses and cars. So her answer? make a tape where she led him to every answer and sell it to TMZ. Guess the housewives of Atlanta is her next stop.

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1 reply
pboucard50 alans022 April 29 2014 at 11:15 AM

Wake up ! And smell the dog **** before it dries up.

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jobarreiro April 29 2014 at 11:19 AM

Everybody must be entitled to their opinion. One shouldn't judge stupidity or it would fall under the same umbrella.
Being racist is a feeling seen in all races. I don't think the other races "racism" should be judge either.
Unless you'd tell me that racism is not present and exercise among other races, which it would be a sad ignorance or high hypocrisy.
Donald Sterling has committed an act of stupidity. That's it. And people's individual judgement, his greater punishment!

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1 reply
RSHta jobarreiro April 29 2014 at 12:15 PM

AND THEN WHY DID EVERYONE JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON WHEN PAULA DEEN ADMITTED TO SIMPLY SAYING THE "N" WORD THIRTY YEARS PRIOR...ABOUT A MAN THAT HELD A GUN TO HER........AND SHE WASN'T MAKING MONEY OFF HIM
THIS MAN IS A RACIST....HE IS CAN EMPLOY THEM AND WANT THEM TO WORK HARD FOR HIM, BUT DOESN'T WANT TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEM PERSONALLY.

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tenhmg April 29 2014 at 11:23 AM

Ah got to love the ignorant court of public opinion.....

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tjlstl April 29 2014 at 11:24 AM

Being labeled a racist is the modern day equivalent of being labeled a witch. Throw him in the middle of the Indian ocean and if he can swim to shore he's not a racist.

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1 reply
debnaert tjlstl April 29 2014 at 11:28 AM

EVERYONE is a hypocrite. One calling the other names when all along he is just as sinful. Who cares. Trash calling TRASH.... trash. I'm rather enjoying it. Everyone in the NFL and the NBA and the NHL and the NBL are all GREEDY TRASH.

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tjlstl April 29 2014 at 11:27 AM

Man, is that one ugly woman. Wow

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sarnkc April 29 2014 at 11:28 AM

when i heard the audio sounded less like a racist rant and more like jealous outrage of an old geezer against his hot young girlfriend. . . .why would a true racists be involved with mixed race girlfriend (as reported--dont know who she is!) ? Can we please put some real news on tv and let this go. . . the fans will determine what happens to that particular team. . .

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pennsy39 April 29 2014 at 11:30 AM

IT IS SO HARD TO BELEIVE A OLD PERSON THATS A BILLOINAIRE STILL COULD BE A FOOL . SO MONEY STILL DON'T BUY KNOWNLEGE.

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3 replies
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