NBA commissioner to speak ahead of Clippers game tonight

Thumbnail image for clippers-jerseys-dumped-espn.jpgWith the Donald Sterling situation continuing to spin out of control, new NBA commissioner Adam Silver has scheduled a morning press conference at which he's expected to announce the league's initial action against the Clippers owner. Mayor Eric Garcetti has shifted his schedule to hold a presser right after with Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, who will be there as a former player who speaks for the NBA players association. It's all kind of urgent because sponsors are fleeing the Clippers in the wake of Sterling's latest racist talk — telling his girlfriend not to bring blacks to Clippers games or take photos with Magic Johnson — and because the Clippers players are supposed to play game 5 of the playoffs tonight at Staples Center. Some African American leaders have urged a boycott of the Clippers, and there's some question whether the players will play and what they might do as a protest if they do show up (as expected.) What the fans might do is anyone's guess.

Here are some of bullet points from the ongoing Sterling stories:

  • Sponsors who are severing or suspending their ties to the Clippers include CarMax, State Farm, Kia, Virgin America, Red Bull, Mercedes-Benz, LoanMart, Southern California Ford Dealers, Yokohama Tire, Burger King, Sprint, Samsung, the Commerce Hotel & Casino, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the company that makes Corona beer.
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers refused Sterling's phone call and said that the best way for the Clippers to make a statement is to keep winning. Excerpt:
  • "I would like to reiterate how disappointed I am in the comments attributed to [Donald Sterling] and I can’t even begin to tell you how upset I am and our players are. Today, I had a meeting with the members of our organization. When you are around all these people, you realize they are just as upset and embarrassed by the situation and it does not reflect who they really are. That was what I got from all of them. They are now a part of this and they are upset at this. But, they are all going to hang in there and so are we -- I can tell you that as a group and as a team. From our fans’ standpoint, I want to say that they have been amazing, I can tell you that. We need unbelievable support right now from other people and I’m hoping we get that. My hope is that whatever the fans do, it is as one. I think that is what we all should do.

    "We want to make the right decisions here. We’re doing our very best to try and do that. We know that fans are in a dilemma as well. We want them to cheer for their players and their team. It will always be their players and their team. From the fans that I have heard from, that’s how they feel. ‘This is my team. These are my players that I’m cheering for and that’s not going to change.’ I hope Staples Center is packed and people are cheering for the players. The players are now in the middle of this, and they have to deal with it.

    "We are all trying to figure out everything as it goes and just do our best and we hope that it is the right answer. I’m still going to do my best and do what I think is best for the team and for everybody in this case. It is very difficult because there are so many emotions in this. This is a very emotional subject, this is personal.

  • Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Sterling is a bigot who said abhorrent things, but should not lose his team over it: "In this country, people are allowed to be morons."
  • Bill Dwyre, the former sports editor of the LA Times, suggests in his column that the Clippers players who want be allowed to become free agents and leave the team. At least one NBA owner has also suggested this would be an appropriate way to sanction Sterling.
  • The New York Times editorial board posted an editorial that begins, "Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Donald Sterling scandal is that virtually no one in the sports world was surprised to hear that Mr. Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, may have been caught on tape spewing racist sentiments."
  • The Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP held a press conference to address why it was giving Sterling a lifetime achievement award next month and the decision to cancel the award.
  • My KCRW segment last night focused on the Sterling situation and how his racist ways have been allowed to go on for years. The LA Observed segments are now heard at 4:44 on Mondays, two hours earlier than before.

  • More by Kevin Roderick:
    Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
    The Media
    LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
    LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
    LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
    Recent Sports stories on LA Observed:
    Volleying with Rosie Casals
    Sometimes the experience doesn't have to be televised
    A bout last night
    Tracking the distant signals of the Dodgers
    Last hurrah
    Overheard at the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells
    The greening of tennis
    First-stringers in tennis


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