The Los Angeles Clippers chose not to speak publicly about owner Donald Sterling. Instead, they made a silent protest.
In response to Mr. Sterling’s purported comments urging a woman to not bring black people to his team’s games, the Clippers on Sunday let their uniforms become a show of solidarity.
They ran out of the tunnel for Game 4 of their first-round playoff at Golden State wearing their warm-ups. Then they huddled at centre court and tossed their warm-ups to the ground, going through their pregame routine with their red Clippers’ shirts inside out to hide the team’s logo.
Players also wore black wristbands or armbands. They all wore black socks with their normal jerseys.
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.”
While the Clippers wanted to let their play do the talking, other NBA players continued to speak out on the subject.
Obama: Reported comments by team owner ‘racist’
President Barack Obama said on Sunday, from Kualalampur, that comments reportedly made by the owner of a U.S. pro basketball team are “incredibly offensive racist statements,” before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must confront.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Mr. Obama said when asked to respond to the reported comments from Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling.
“The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination,” Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was travelling.
“We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up every so often,” he added. “And I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why statements like this stand out some much is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves.”