NBA probing alleged recording of Clippers owner
Updated: 2014-04-27 10:26
|In this photo taken on Friday, Oct 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles.|
The man asked Stiviano not to broadcast her association with black people or bring black people to games. The man specifically mentioned Johnson on the recording, saying "don't bring him to my games, OK?"
"I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner," Johnson responded on Twitter. He also said the alleged comments are "a black eye for the NBA" and said he felt bad that friends such as Rivers and Clippers point guard Chris Paul had to work for Sterling.
Paul released a statement through the players' union that said "this is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively." He also said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star guard who is the chairman of a search committee to find a new director for the union, would take a leading role to help players address the matter.
Paul and Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin declined further comment on the issue after the team's practice at the University of San Francisco. Other players were not made available as Rivers said he would speak for the team.
"A lot of guys voiced their opinions. None of them were happy about it," Rivers said. "This was a situation where we're trying to go after something very important for us, something that we've all dreamed about all our childhoods. Donald or anyone else had nothing to do with that dream, and we're not going to let anything get in the way of those dreams."
On TNT's halftime studio show Saturday, host Charles Barkley said "this is the first test of Adam Silver." He said Silver had to "suspend him and fine him immediately."
In Dallas, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said "I have plenty of opinions, just not going to share them. He fended off several inquiries before saying: "Obviously, if any business or entrepreneur says or does things that aren't congruent with what the organization is trying to convey, that's a problem. But it's not my problem."
Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who played for the Clippers from 1992-94, said of Sterling's comments: "My feeling would be the same, no matter if I was coaching, playing or a fan. There's no place for it."
Jacky Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, said the organization planned a protest outside Game 5 of the Clippers-Warriors series Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Sterling, a real estate owner, bought the Clippers in 1981. He is the longest-tenured owner in the NBA since Lakers owner Jerry Buss died last year.
Sterling has been frequently criticized for his frugal operation of the Clippers, although in recent years he has spent heavily to add stars such as Paul and Rivers, who is in his first year as coach. Sterling also has been involved in several lawsuits over the years, including ones with accusations of discrimination.
In November 2009, Sterling agreed to pay $2.73 million to settle allegations by the government that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics and blacks and to families with children. The Justice Department sued Sterling in August 2006 for allegations of housing discrimination in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles.
In March 2011, Sterling won a lawsuit against former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor when a jury rejected the Hall of Famer's claim of age discrimination and harassment. Baylor, who was 76 at the time, had sought about $2 million after claiming he was forced out of the job he had held for 22 years. The team said Baylor left on his own and a jury awarded him nothing.
Sterling is a courtside fixture at Clippers home games. But he rarely visits the team's locker room at Staples Center, although he made an appearance in December 2012 after the Clippers won their 11th straight game, when he led an awkward locker room cheer.