Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he had an emotional meeting Friday with Clippers employees who work in downtown Los Angeles to try to help them deal with the Donald Sterling scandal.
Rivers said that during his conversation with the employees, who work in ticketing, marketing, group sales, sponsorship, finance, human resources and fan relations, they were “sitting there crying.”
Sterling admitted to the NBA that his voice was on an audio recording in which he made racially charged comments about African Americans.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA. Silver said Sterling couldn’t be present at any Clippers facility and he can’t participate in any business or player-personnel decisions involving the team.
Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million and has gotten the backing from other NBA franchise owners to try to force him to sell the team.
“Our players thought about not working,” Rivers said. “So did our employees. And they still felt that way. They needed somebody to ask them to continue to work and support here.”
Rivers said he got a call for some of the Clippers’ department heads who asked him to speak with the employees.
Rivers said he quickly agreed to do so despite trying to prepare the team for Game 7 of its first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at Staples Center.
Rivers said the Clippers arrived back in Los Angeles at about 2 a.m. Friday after losing Game 6 to the Warriors on Thursday night in Oakland. He said he finished watching film at 4 a.m. and went downtown to Staples Center to meet with employees at 9 a.m.
“They felt like now they’ve been knocked back down and we have to start all over again,” Rivers said. “And I told them, ‘Yeah, you’re right. You do. There’s no quick solution to this. There’s no banner and then everybody will be good. We got to redo it.’ I told them that. I told them I want to be there for them as much as I can. But it’s hard.”
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