OAKLAND, Ca. —
The Los Angeles Clippers wore their warm up clothes inside out, pausing for a moment of silence before their game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. The fashion statement was a silent protest against a racist recording, allegedly featuring Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.
“This is not just a league of players. We are collectively one family and I’m confident that this family will speak together,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Mayor Johnson spoke on behalf of the Clippers during a half time press conference at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Johnson said Chris Paul called him Saturrday, asking him to speak for the team going forward.
The recorded conversation, originally posted to TMZsports.com Saturday, allegedly started in response to a photo Sterling’s then girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, posted on her Instagram account. Stiviano is photographed next to esteemed NBA alumni Magic Johnson, along with another woman.
“What we’re struggling with is how do we not get too hasty and not rush to judgement, but at the same time we can’t approach this with any hesitancy,” said Mayor Johnson.
Mayor Johnsons said during an emergency meeting with the executive committee and player representatives, the parties got a chance to articulate five key objectives going forward:
- Players want to ensure Mr. Sterling does not attend any game for the Clippers or any other team for the duration of the playoffs
- Players want a full accounting of prior accusations of racism made against Mr. Sterling, and an explanation of why those accusations were never sanctioned by the NBA
- Players want to commissioner to explain the range of sanctions to be divided out if the accusations against Mr. Sterling are found to be true
- Players want assurance from the players association to be considered as full partners in the process going forward, calling this a defining moment for players and league
- Players want to make sure the commissioner carries out the process swiftly and decisively and acts unequivocally
“I thought the Clippers handled it in a very classy fashion. There have been incidents in history where athletes like Jesse Owens have had to play under difficult circumstances. So I applaud the Clippers players for showing up and showing their protest and then going ahead with the game,” said Sacramento King’s owner, Vivek Ranadive.
The game must go on, but that’s not as easy at is sounds. Mayor Johnson called the social media spree following the leaked recording a “huge distraction” to players.
“There’s absolutely no place in the NBA for ignorance, intolerance, reprehensible comments,” said Mayor Johnson.
“As I’ve said, if these comments are true and are authenticated then we should have zero tolerance,” said Ranadive.