While the controversy surrounding racist statements made by the Los Angeles Clippers owner continued to rage, Clippers teammates showed their solidarity by staging a silent protest before game 4 of their 2014 NBA playoffs series last night.
Team members chose not to speak publicly about statements attributed to Donald Sterling. Prior to the opening tip off in game 4 against the Golden State Warriors, they tore off their warm up jackets to reveal red shirts turned inside out to hide their team logo.
Sterling was caught on tape telling his mixed, biracial girlfriend not to bring black people to his games — including NBA legend Magic Johnson.
Sterling’s girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, angered the Octogenarian by posing for a photo with Johnson and posting the image on her public Instagram.com account.
Players also wore black wristbands or armbands. They all wore black socks with their normal jerseys.
“It’s just us, only us. We’re all we got,” Clippers star guard Chris Paul could be heard shouting to teammates before they ran out.
The Warriors’ sellout crowd of 19,596, decked out in gold shirts, booed the Clippers – as they always do – during introductions.
Sterling’s wife, Shelly, was sitting courtside across from the Clippers’ bench. Commissioner Adam Silver had said Donald Sterling would not be at the game.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before the game that he would remain the only one to speak for the team on this, saying players want to remain focused on basketball. Even he, though, acknowledged that has not been easy since TMZ released the alleged recording of Sterling on Saturday.
“Our message is to play,” Rivers said. “Our message is that we’re going to let no one and nothing stop us from what we want to do. And I think that’s a good message. I really do. I think that’s the message we’re trying to send. And if we can pull this off all the way, I think that would be a terrific message.”
Many believe the Clippers lost game 4 to the Warriors 118-97 — to even the series at 2-2 — in protest over their team owner’s statements.
All of the pre-game posturing by the Clippers is odd considering Sterling’s past history of racial discrimination. Sterling has been sued twice by the federal government for refusing to rent apartment units to blacks and Hispanics.
Didn’t the Clippers know who signed their paychecks?
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