Clippers players stage protest after owner's alleged racist comments

Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:51pm EDT
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By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles Clippers players staged a protest at a playoff game on Sunday against racist comments allegedly made by team owner Donald Sterling, turning their warm-up jerseys inside-out to hide the team name before a loss to the Golden State Warriors.

The silent demonstration came as Sterling faced a firestorm of criticism over a 10-minute recording obtained by celebrity news website TMZ in which a man reported to be the NBA owner tells a woman not to post photographs of herself with black people online and not to bring African-Americans to Clippers games.

The taped remarks rocked the National Basketball Association (NBA), where most of the players are black, and left its officials scrambling to address the scandal that has threatened to overshadow the playoffs.

Ahead of the game against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Clippers players gathered at center court, dropped sweat-jackets with the team's name around the tip-off circle and then came out with their warm-up jerseys inside-out, keeping the "Clippers" name off of their chests.

The players had discussed boycotting the game, star guard Chris Paul told reporters. They came out for the game in their normal jerseys, but with black socks and bands that game announcers said were also part of a protest.

Players did not speak of the clothing protest ahead of the game. Sterling did not attend and the Clippers lost the game, 97-118 as their opponents, the Golden State Warriors, evened the playoff series at two games each.

Afterward Clippers coach Doc Rivers declined to blame the loss on the furor, saying that the Warriors had outplayed his team and taking responsibility for failing to prepare them mentally for the big game.

"Certainly I believe everybody was affected by what took place. I don't think it was just the Clippers. I think it's insulting to all of us. I think both teams were somewhat bothered by what took place the last 24 hours," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.   Continued...

Real estate mogul and Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball team owner Donald Sterling attends the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California May 1, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok