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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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ctsturbine April 29 2014 at 5:57 AM

Fact Black people don't hate hate people and white people don't hate black people. Put the in a room and everyone is human, put the in a storm and they will die for each other. This is all about starting and playing the human race so people of power can profit. Plain and simple, I would take a black man or woman in the fox hole next to me any day of the week. We are all humans just the poeple in pwoer want to control us by spewing this vile to keep our minds off the real problems in this world. GOD BLESS ALL HUMAN's ALL

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1 reply
buknekkid ctsturbine April 29 2014 at 6:22 AM

You're the only one making a statement that has any merit and is uplifting in today's hateful world.

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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.

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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

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junkyard.dawg April 29 2014 at 4:34 AM

sorry meant to say money can't buy you love

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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.

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Gene A Ratchford April 29 2014 at 10:49 AM

You know, I listen to this story and I think...who is causing all of the ruckus? The media! What ever happened to free speech in this country. What a man says between him and the person he is speaking to is really none of anyone else's business. Put yourself in his shoes and tell me you have never said anything to another person that you would not make public. Sure you have...we all have. That is why it is called Free Speech. What is wrong with a person saying don't bring a black person to a game with you. Why is that racist? Does not mean he hates blacks, it just means he has some of his own ideas and wishes. We all do. I can guarantee there are blacks out there that do not want to have whites in their presence if it were possible. I guess I see everytime a white person says something about a black...it's racism. Have you ever listened to black comedians on tv talk about white people. What about George Lopez talking about white people? Is all of this racists? Then why doesn't the media jump on these statements? Come on media people, get a life and report on the real stories going on in our country.

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robertcaiken April 29 2014 at 10:51 AM

This coach is a class act because he hasn't rushed to judgment. He wants the owner to have due process; unlike Majic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Al Sharpton and most disturbingly President Obama.

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1 reply
orion15stars robertcaiken April 29 2014 at 11:38 AM

Sterling has a long pattern of openly behaving as a racist, and it's cost him millions of dollars because of it.

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cgssnavickas April 29 2014 at 10:53 AM

Doc Rivers was smart in not confronting Sterling. He's trying to concentrate on the game and the welfare of the players. One thing does puzzle me, though. If I read it correctly, he's married, but has a Hispanic/Black girlfriend that was told not to bring any black people to the game. Duh, his girlfriend is part black and the majority of the players on the team are black. I don't get it.

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debnaert April 29 2014 at 10:56 AM

And then you have trash like "a certain black so called entertainer" using explicate vulgar language telling Sterling to go FFFFFFFFFFF himself............. TRASH TELLING TRASH to go FFFFFFFFFFF himself. This Godless country will come to their knees one of these days and SEE the error of their FOUL FILTHY GREEDY LIVES................ and they know who they are.

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2 replies
orion15stars debnaert April 29 2014 at 11:06 AM

So that means it's OK if you blast them with derogatory comments equaling hate speech but not OK if they blast you with the same. Because that is exactly what you stated in your post. Be aware you are fully supporting hate speech racism when defend Sterling. This isn't Sterling's first time being called on racism. It's of a long pattern of doing the same, and costing him millions because of it. His wallet hasn't been hurt enough. It needs to hurt far deeper. If that doesn't cure his narcissistic nihilist anti-social personality nothing will.

When are people going to get it through their brains that in today's world of tech, nothing is private unless kept to self. Any longer people are so massively greedy and vindictive toward others, they will do anything it takes to humiliate and do great harm to others in the name of bigotry. Such frightened, paranoid emotionally and intellectually insecure are far too many US people. Bigotry all ingrained by religions starting with the Vatican in the 4th century CE, and carried over by Protestants breaking from the Vatican starting with Martin Luther.

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1 reply
theemovado orion15stars April 29 2014 at 11:16 AM

sorry orion, but debnaert doesn't really possess the intellect to keep up with what you just wrote.

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theemovado debnaert April 29 2014 at 11:06 AM

wow! You sound soooo Godly! Not!

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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.

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