Clippers Take Unified Stand, Remove Shooting Shirts

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Before Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers chose to take off their shooting shirts and wear their warm up shirts inside out to protest owner Donald Sterling's alleged racist remarks.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Los Angeles Clippers players staged a silent protest against owner Donald Sterling before Sunday's game, while coach Doc Rivers said he isn't sure what he would have to hear from Sterling to make him want to return next season.

"Don't know yet," Rivers said when asked if there were things he needed to hear from Sterling after an audio tape surfaced of Sterling purportedly making racist remarks to his girlfriend V. Stiviano. "I'm just going to leave it at that."

The Clippers gathered at center court before Game 4 of their first-round series against the Golden State Warriors and took off their Clippers' warm-up shirts and left them there. They then warmed up wearing inside-out red shooting shirts that did not display the Clippers' name or logo. During the game, players wore black arm or wrist bands and black socks.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

During a 45-minute team meeting on Saturday, Clippers player voiced their anger about the tape and discussed various options of protest, including boycotting the game.

"[We] talked as a team about everything," Chris Paul told ESPN. "Tried to keep internal, everything we decided to do has been together as a team."

In the Clippers' locker room before the game, "We are one" was written on the dry-erase board, which was the message players and coaches talked about before taking the court.

"We're going to be one, everything we do, we do it together," Paul said. "Stay together, play ball, we worked hard to be where we are, can't imagine going through this with anyone leading us other than Doc."

Sterling was at Game 3 on Thursday night in Oakland and was planning to be at Game 4 Sunday before speaking with the league and agreeing not to attend as they investigated his comments. Sterling's wife, Rochelle, however, was at the game and sat courtside across from the Clippers' bench.

Stiviano's lawyer released a statement Sunday afternoon that stated the tapes carrying the purported voices of Stiviano and Sterling were "legitimate." The quotes came from approximately an hour's worth of recorded conversation, that Stiviano says she did not leak to the media.

Rivers said before the game he had not spoken to Sterling and had no current plans to.

"I've not talked to Donald yet," Rivers said. "Really no need right now, at least for me."

Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who, like Rivers, played for the Clippers, said he could not coach or work for the Clippers knowing what he knows now about Sterling.

"I cannot right now," Jackson said. "Knowing the mentality, I cannot. With that being said, let me double back. There are people, successful people, who would answer that question and say no, that's working for folks today."

Rivers said he understood Magic Johnson and many fans saying they would not be attending Clippers' games as long as Sterling is the owner and would understand if the Clippers' 137-game sellout streak was snapped for Tuesday's Game 5 because of the backlash.

"I would understand," Rivers said. "I hope not. We need them. I can tell you that. We need everybody. We play for them. We always have. So we do need them. We're going to need them bad on Tuesday. We're going to need them there. We're going to need them in our corner. But, listen, I get all of it. Like I said to the gentlemen, someone wants to do it another way, I get that, too, and I have no problem with that either."

so happy they took a stance but god damn i want jj reddick to ruin me like sterling ruined his credibility in the nba