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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."

Join the discussion

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anandaone April 29 2014 at 12:25 PM

I keep hearing how he said such "horrible" and "disgusting" things about black people. I'm black, and I don't get it. What did he say that so "horrible" about blacks?

The guy had a personal, private conversation on the phone. He didn't broadcast whatever he did say to a major news channel, or even at a function or event. He was in the his own home.

I can guarantee you, every single one of the supposedly "outraged" folks here have said worse than, "hey, don't bring black people to my games" at some point in their lives. The ONLY difference is that nobody taped it and pout it out on the airwaves.

You're impressing no one.

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5 replies
gdindy April 29 2014 at 7:03 AM

Sterling said stupid things.
Do you take a multi million dollar job because of who owns the company?
Do you really care what the owner things when your making 4M a year to play a sport.
Do you think this guy was set up to make a story, making the stupid racist comments he said.
You can't legislate stupid, he makes a stupid comment to what he believed was a private conversation. I have a problem with people recording private conversations and then turning them over to the national media.
Players want to make a statement, how about donating their pay checks from Sterling to charity?

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1 reply
cbcelmayster gdindy April 29 2014 at 7:27 AM

He was donating millions to the NAACP and was to receive an award.. Do you think that based on some of his past issues they did not know he was a racist? It is all about the $$$$.. Al Sharpton will use it to get $$$,
the networks will milk it to death for the $$$, the players will use it for $$$, the mistress is all about the $$$$. The sponsors who have pulled did so because it might cost them $$$- yet they had to have known what he was all about but sponsored the team for the $$$!!!

What a bunch of Hypocrits ALL!!

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richagrig April 29 2014 at 7:01 AM

This is a stupid issue, and I don't have to like anyone including brown people, black people, yellow people and if I don't want my girlfriend hanging around someone because of color that is my choice. I don't have to like skin head white people, gays, homo sexuals, catholic priests, Barack Obama, Rachael Maddox, SO WHAT AND I HAVE THE RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN TO SAY SO. Get over your self s and quit crying wolf because of someone's beliefs or feelings. You don't have to like or work for this guy who owns this basketball team but to be this way and want to take away his ownership is BS. This is AMERICA and I don't have to like anyone. I can say it to.

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harold19320 April 29 2014 at 6:59 AM

From what was said he said it in his HOME !! So if this is true nobody is safe anymore.. So if your black and you call someone a cracker or a honkie remember you now may also be called out for being racist. Besides the girlfriend wants to get back at his wife the wife is suing her for ? so its get back time

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skosta April 29 2014 at 6:56 AM

People are aghast that the NSA is taping Americans' private conversations, but I guess they're ok with taping racist ones. Kareem Abdul Jabbar's recent op ed in Time magazine is an interesting take on this.

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mecemills April 29 2014 at 6:48 AM

So the girlfriend stays with him WHY after being spoken to like that - if what has been released on the recording is true?

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1 reply
harold19320 mecemills April 29 2014 at 7:03 AM

if someone gave you a million dollars tax free would you stay . most likely you would say no but! If you go to work every day and sit in traffic for a lot less money but you hate your job but you stay there.. But what was said was in his home not in a public place

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orangecobob April 29 2014 at 6:44 AM

Why wouldn't Doc Rivers meet with Sterling? Wasn't it said by TMZ, that the tape was recorded because Sterling allowed it, so he wouldn't forget what he said to the girlfriend, and I stilll hear that it was illegally taped. According to Barkley pro basketball is a black game? Magic Johnson was shocked, but wants to buy the team? ESPN has turned into a political network, and the attorney representing Sterling may well want to investigate ESPN and all their employees. Bottom line, there is a move to get a NBA team, and Magic Johnson is in the center. I am really surprised we haven't redistributed the wealth in the NBA, and add more white players to make up the 80% Black players. Sterling appears to have some racial prejudice, but it is not illegal, but it is illegal to illegally record a conversation. Why hasn't the press, especially ESPN, not investigated the girlfriend and TMZ to determine the truth about the tape. The present owners need to be concerned about the rush to judgement , ESPN's political role, and the players saying that they must be satisfied, by any ruling by the Commissioner. If the NBA is a Black league, they sure do not need White Ownership, especially if the league is 80% black, and the players can threaten management over any issue they do not want to accept. Couldn't they always rightfully accuse ownership of racism because of racial disparity?

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1 reply
andre10056 orangecobob April 29 2014 at 6:49 AM

If you or anyone else believe the "girlfriend's" explanation that Sterling wanted his private, behind closed doors conversations taped because he "forgets", I gotta nice bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

If it were me, I'd sue TMZ for broadcasting illegally taped private conversations, so maybe TMZ is just making up some BS, or having her claim that BS, so that they can avoid liability.

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tmccull52 April 29 2014 at 6:43 AM

Sometimes, the classiest thing to do is to NOT dignify inflammatory or ignorant statements with a direct response. Actions speak louder than words, and Doc Rivers is making his point eloquently with how he is acting, and not solely with vitriolic response. I commend him for taking the high road, and for being the leader that his team needs him to be.

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Paul FIQUET April 29 2014 at 6:40 AM

The winner of this awful story is that GF ....who apparently arranged the whole thing and trapped the old man...bad story all the way around.. cant we all get along ?

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1 reply
arkady967 Paul FIQUET April 29 2014 at 6:47 AM

Maybe racists are baiting their own kind.... Tolerance is called for until you have the upper hand, then pogroms are the order of the day. Besides, these was a private conversation - anyone can have any opinion about anything. By law, no one was harmed save in their feelings. Maybe these players will give up their pay for their convictions? LOL. I don't think so. Are we ever going to hear the racist remarks of any but white men, or Republican woman. Again, LOL. The double standard, hypocrisy and inquisitional nature of this kind of pursuit would make the Nazis' smile with respect and admiration. I'm sure they'd get the only real difference between themselves and this what is currently on display is the direction the totalitarian urge is pointing in.

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arkady967 April 29 2014 at 6:39 AM

Yes. Well, his comments were private, and he cannot and he is not able to discriminate by law. The law affects actions only, it does not reach to opinion -as the founder of the constitution wisely indicated. Not to mention, this basketball team is going to have the best players it can get no matter their race since it's goal is to win games and make lots of money for everyone involved. To date, this owner is the only one who has actually been harmed. He has opinions most people find repugnant, but they have not materially affected anyone in terms of their freedom to live their lives or make a living. On the other hand, he was obviously set up - and a private conversation was exposed for no material reason and people are using it to destroy a law-abiding citizen. That's the bigger problem here. Not getting that is more dangerous than this man's conflicted notions about race relations.

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2 replies
blawless33 arkady967 April 29 2014 at 6:48 AM

Careful, you may end up in jail with talk like that ... the pc crowd doesn't understand reality. They live in a pc bubble, you know a world that has no wars, no homeless , and everyone has the same amount of cash in their Roth IRA.

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mqats arkady967 April 29 2014 at 6:53 AM

For one who is a white racist, naturally the idea of being set up to show what you are is the biggest problem here. For a black person who has experienced discrimination throughout life, perhaps the racism itself is a worse problem? It's all about yourself, of course.

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1 reply
blawless33 mqats April 29 2014 at 7:09 AM

Perhaps you're a moron and the ideal pod the system loves enslaving in the first place. Way to be the problem.

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