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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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Pantino4 April 29 2014 at 7:16 AM

due process

Flag Reply +1 rate up
judyannglass April 29 2014 at 10:43 AM

In time, we will find out the truth about this conversation. Remember the video taping of Mrs. Sherrod and how that was "very" edited. And, was there not a phone conversation with an actor and his ex that was edited as well? Yes, there are still very racists people in the world today. I say the whole, true, story needs to be revealed.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
sammy_evans4 April 29 2014 at 10:45 AM

Well First off Sterling was an Idiot for being with this girl anyway, Did he really think a 21 year old woman was in love with him, no but his money yes.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
thinksolutions April 29 2014 at 10:45 AM

It certainly is a one street thats what will sustain the indifference. Black people and not all black people but those in a position to effect change call every other type of human being everything in the book but get away with it for now

Flag Reply +2 rate up
mickjett April 29 2014 at 12:31 PM

The woman who caused this tempest in a teapot must be smiling inwardly. Why don't the so-called journalists interview her? Is anyone bothered about her sneaky recording of the man she hates so much? This is an overreaction in an excercise of thought control, to say the least.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
4 replies
jrsmage April 29 2014 at 10:46 AM

I wonder what would happen if a noted african-american were seceretly taped in their own home and the contents released? I guess the current justice department gives little to the Constitution. Seems like there is a federal eavesdropping incident here.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
al.capone11 April 29 2014 at 12:30 PM

hi! Girl its a criminal set Donald Sterling up ! she should be prosecuted with who ever its involved in this ! she don't love this guy ! now she is selling him ! TV>>>>>>>

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
quixoticjak al.capone11 April 29 2014 at 12:52 PM

Spoken just like your chosen namesake....

Flag Reply 0 rate up
rjen164497 April 29 2014 at 2:12 PM

Is everyone this stupid? Sterling is an idiot to allow himself to be set up by this HO. Magic Johnson, one of the first out with the information has been trying to buy the Clippers for a long time. Sterling can't stand Johnson. The private phone conversations were about Sterling not liking the HO hanging with Johnson. Sterling allowed himself to be set up. No one records several hours of private phone conversation without some motive. Johnson who is far from being an upright citizen and family man obviously set it up. No outrage over Charles Barkley's racial statement on TNT that the NBA is a Black League. No one upset that the Heat wore T-shirts that said White Hot.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
mksturgissr April 29 2014 at 2:12 PM

We are promoting unity among differences. I am wearing one brown light shoe and one black shoe to see who notices. Then the conversation will start.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Welcome Mary April 29 2014 at 12:30 PM

why is she sleeping with him knowing how he feels

Flag Reply +3 rate up
3 replies
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