Amidst a firestorm of media coverage stemming from their owner Donald Sterling’s alleged racist comments surfacing Saturday, the Los Angeles Clippers staged a silent protest before Game 4 of their first-round playoff series with the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
Los Angeles players walked onto the Oracle Arena court wearing their shooting shirts and warm-up shirts inside out to not show the nickname Clippers in protest of Sterling’s alleged remarks. Clippers players also wore black socks and black armbands as part of their protest. However, they couldn’t overcome the Warriors, who ran out to an early lead before coasting to a 118-97 victory over the Clippers, to tie the series at 2-2. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with a game-high 33 points, while Jamal Crawford scored a team-high 26 points for the Clippers.
To say that the Clippers were preoccupied by the news of Sterling’s alleged remarks would be an understatement. On Saturday, TMZ released a conversation between Sterling and his then-girlfriend V. Stiviano before Deadspin.com released an extended 15-minute version of the racially-charged exchange on Sunday.
On the recording, a man believed to be Sterling can be heard making reprehensible comments such as “Don’t bring black people [to Clippers’ games], and don’t come” and “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?”
Sterling also scolded Stiviano for posting an Instagram photo of herself with Magic Johnson.
"I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people," Sterling allegedly said. "...Don't put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."
After learning of Sterling's comments, Johnson vowed to never attend another Clippers game for as long as Sterling is the owner.
Sterling’s comments set off a firestorm of backlash from former and present NBA superstars including Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, who commented that “there’s no room for Donald Sterling in our league”, all the way up to President Obama who caught wind of the remarks all the way in Malaysia.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver promised Sterling due process, but vowed that the league will move extraordinarily quickly with its investigation and that there are broad powers in place under the NBA’s constitution that include a range of sanctions. A decision on Sterling’s possible punishment will be reportedly announced by Tuesday.
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(Photo: USA Today Sports / Reuters)