Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who is also the team's vice president of basketball operations, has issued the following statement on behalf of the Clippers organization in response to comments allegedly made by team owner Donald Sterling:
"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.
"My belief is that the longer we keep winning, the more we talk about this. I believe that is good. If we want to make a statement -- I believe that is how we have to do it. I think that is the right way to do it, but that doesn't mean we still don't wrestle with it every day and every moment. That is the difficult part.
"We are all doing our best here. Our players are doing their best. There are a lot of people involved in this. From one man's comments, a lot of people have been affected and the conversations that we're all having do need to be had."
In other developments:
Sterling sued: Donald Sterling was sued today by a woman who alleges she fell and was injured in a Hollywood parking structure owned by the Clippers owner.
Roselee Fagan filed the negligence/premises liability suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages.
A representative for Sterling, who's at the center of racism allegations stemming from the release of a tape by a former girlfriend, could not immediately be reached.
According to the complaint, Fagan was walking with her daughter in the parking structure on Hollywood Boulevard on Feb. 16 and was about to enter her offspring's car when she tripped, lost her balance and fell because of the allegedly uneven concrete surface.
Sponsors pull out: A half-dozen major corporations are ending or suspending their sponsorships of the team. CarMax, Virgin America and State Farm insurance each issued statements pulling back from their sponsorships of the team.
"While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for nine years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship," the company announced.
Virgin America, which has been team's official airline since 2012, also yanked its sponsorship. State Farm, while calling the comments "offensive," fell short of completely cutting ties with the team, but announced the company would be "taking a pause in our relationship with the organization."
The Clippers want to ban Sterling from their playoff games: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, working on behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, said the players want the NBA to ban Sterling from attending future playoff games this season and levy the maximum possible punishment against him in response to the comments he purportedly made by him to girlfriend V. Stiviano, ESPN reported.
NBA investigation: The NBA, meanwhile, announced that it will hold a news conference Tuesday to "make an announcement about its investigation involving Clippers owner Donald Sterling."
NAACP to return Sterling's donations: The president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP said today the group will return donations Clippers owner Donald Sterling has made to the organization. The organization announced over the weekend that it had dropped plans to present Sterling with a "humanitarian of the year" award next week.
--City News Service