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CEO: Rivers to quit Clippers if Sterling stays

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers testified Tuesday that coach Doc Rivers told him he will quit if Donald Sterling remains the owner of the team.

CEO Richard Parsons made the statement at the trial to determine whether Sterling's wife Shelly Sterling can sell the team for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The NBA has tried to force out Donald Sterling since soon after racist statements emerged on recordings in April.

"Doc is troubled by this maybe moreso than anybody else," Parsons said on the witness stand about Rivers, who is black. "If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach."

Parsons said he fears there would also be an exodus of key players, including team captain Chris Paul, who also is black and heads the NBA players union.

Parsons was about to give an account of his conversations with Paul but was stopped by an objection by an NBA lawyer who said it would be an invasion of privacy. The judge upheld the objection.

Rivers has said he had heard from other Clippers business employees that they didn't think they would be able to work for Sterling under the circumstances.

Parsons is a former chief executive at Time Warner and Citigroup who took over leadership of the Clippers in May during the media blitz surrounding the banishment of Sterling.

Under questioning by Ballmer's lawyer, Parsons said the departure of Rivers would begin "a death spiral" for the Clippers.

"If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster," Parsons said. "Doc is the father figure, the one who leads. He's the coach. He's the grown-up. He is able to connect with people and earn their trust. The team believes in him and loves him.

"If he were to leave, that is only going to accelerate the death spiral," Parson said.

Parsons, who is considered an expert in the management of major corporations, said he was certain that sponsors would pull out and season ticket holders would demand their money back if Donald Sterling remains as owner.

"If your coach leaves, if your players don't want to play with you, what do you have?" Parsons asked. "If your sponsors leave and the fans leave, it's going to spiral down and down."

He said key sponsors such as Mandalay Bay Resorts in Las Vegas are cold about whether they will continue, as are other companies including Kia Motors Corp.

"We have a bunch of sponsors sitting at the edge of the pool and they don't want to go in if the Sterlings are there," Parsons said.

Parsons also said he doesn't believe that anyone will offer as much money for the team as Ballmer.

Shelly Sterling also was on the witness list Tuesday along with Dean Bonham, an expert on sponsorship and marketing issues who is also the president of an NBA franchise.

The high-stakes financial fight centers on whether Shelly Sterling was authorized to make a deal with Ballmer on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust.

While she was negotiating, Donald Sterling revoked the trust, a move designed to rescind his signed agreement for the sale of the Clippers, which he bought for just $12 million.

He announced from the witness stand earlier in the trial that he would never sell the team and would be suing the NBA for the rest of his life.

Doc Rivers Sunday Conversation

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chitt9111 July 22 2014 at 7:45 PM

good QUIT !!! who the hail cares n go back to your own country n take all your illegal immigrant people with you~~this is America n sterling stays or we BOYCOTT ALL NBA N ALL NBA APRAREL TILL THIS RACIST LEAGUE IS COMPLETLY SHUT DOWN. !!~~STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS~WHITES~~>USA !~"USA ~"USA ~"

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23 replies
rude July 22 2014 at 7:47 PM

Take a hike Doc......Sterling owes you zilch.

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1 reply
ganderrrr rude July 22 2014 at 8:21 PM

Sterling is cutting off his own nose and ears and lips to spite his face.

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4 replies
Postalpal July 22 2014 at 7:57 PM

I say...QUIT!!! There are many people in line who would gladly take your position and quite frankly, probably be EXCELLENT at it!

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5 replies
tony.br1 July 22 2014 at 7:41 PM


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2 replies
g23you2012 tony.br1 July 22 2014 at 8:19 PM


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1 reply
stburhans g23you2012 July 22 2014 at 8:31 PM

He's not gone by a long shot. The NBA and all you bigoted fools will see.

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Carol tony.br1 July 23 2014 at 7:01 AM

Who cares, quit. Mr. Sterling should have the right of freedom of speech. A bunch of BS.

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Hello Bob July 22 2014 at 7:41 PM

Helloooo Is there anyone home ? Donald Sterling OWNS the franchise.

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6 replies
Bill July 22 2014 at 7:57 PM

Good deal...then they won't have to fire him! LA doesn't need the Clippers...they got the Lakers....what LA needs is an NFL team! Is free speech no longer allowed under our constitution? Test his bluff...keep Sterling with the Clippers and see if this "coach" does in fact quit!

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5 replies
prozetti July 22 2014 at 7:37 PM

what a fraud u are, rivers! u KNEW this guy's modis opperandi going in...

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2 replies
g23you2012 prozetti July 22 2014 at 7:57 PM

It is not only Rivers. It is the Whole NBA. They do not want Sterling back period. The Sponsors. The NBA players. The Coaches, not just Rivers. And even people who has worked for the Staple Center.

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2 replies
stburhans g23you2012 July 22 2014 at 8:30 PM

So the NBA should recant and welcome him back. If not; you see what is happening. Soon no team. Who loses money; not Donald. NBA got too big for their britches. We are laughing at the NBA and all you bigoted fools that thought you could force him out. If I were him I would have stopped payroll and cancelled games.

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slop9124 g23you2012 July 24 2014 at 1:49 AM

Looks like the coach and all the sponsors are afraid they will suffer from black backlash if they don't give in and let the NBA dump Sterling. I think NBA should stand for Nothing But Asses.

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accordmee prozetti July 23 2014 at 3:12 AM

And you know that how?

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wnagle53 July 22 2014 at 8:26 PM

HYPOCRITES ! Doc Rivers was ok with this"bigot" and his money before this assassination, but now that there is media attention he has to be a brutha.
I guess you can have it both ways. If you are in the right demographic.

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3 replies
MAD_DAWG1 July 22 2014 at 7:50 PM


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1 reply
petpetdon MAD_DAWG1 July 23 2014 at 1:29 AM

As they say, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

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1 reply
gdl4974 petpetdon July 23 2014 at 2:50 AM


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yayabeanes July 22 2014 at 7:37 PM

So.. So what...Let him quit...At least he has scruples...Doesn't seem to bother anyone else in cashing those large checks, does it.

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3 replies
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