OAKLAND -- Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul declined to comment Saturday on a recording in which Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly is heard making racist comments about African Americans.
But Paul, who is president of the NBA players’ union, released a statement.
“On behalf of the National Players Association, this is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively,” Paul said in the statement. “We have asked [Sacramento] Mayor Kevin Johnson to extend his responsibilities with the NBPA to determine our response and our next steps.
“As players, we owe it to our teams and our fans to keep our focus on our game, the playoffs and the drive to the Finals.”
The Clippers are in the first round of the playoffs. They lead their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series against Golden State, two games to one.
TMZ posted an audio clip that ran about 10 minutes that was purported to involve an argument between Sterling and a friend, V. Stiviano, on April 9.
Johnson, who is helping the players’ association find its next executive director, has requested an investigation and possible punishment for Sterling.
"The reported comments made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling are reprehensible and unacceptable," Johnson said in a statement. "The National Basketball Players Association must and will play a very active role in determining how this issue is addressed. There needs to be an immediate investigation and if the reports are true, there needs to be strong and swift action taken.
“I have spoken with NBPA President Chris Paul and will be leading the NBPA in addressing the implications of this serious matter. I will be formally reaching out to the NBA today to determine our next steps. While I originally came on to lead the Executive Director search, this issue requires immediate attention from the players association. I will be keeping Chris Paul, the Executive Committee, and all player representatives informed of every step."
Game 4 of the Clippers' first-round series is Sunday at Oracle Arena.
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