As the coach and president of basketball operations for the Clippers, Doc Rivers offered his support for the NBA players who have recently taken up social causes involving racial issues.
It started with Chicago’s Derrick Rose wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt during warmups, and Cleveland’s LeBron James, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Brooklyn’s Kevin Garnett and others have done the same.
The shirts are a reference to the last words Eric Garner uttered before he died in July after a chokehold was applied by a police officer who was attempting to arrest him on Staten Island in New York.
“I like it as long as it’s not anything to improve themselves, is what I always say on statements,” Rivers said. “If the statement is made for the right reason, I’m always for it.
“I grew up in a generation with Arthur Ashe and Muhammad Ali and they used sports as a voice as well. And so I have no problem with it at all.”
The Clippers dealt with their own racial issues during last season’s playoffs when then-owner Donald Sterling was heard on audio making disparaging comments about African Americans to a female friend.
As a way of protesting Sterling’s comments, the Clippers wore their warmup shirts inside-out, so as not to show the name Clippers. Sterling was forced to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer.
Rivers said he wants the “statements to be about the actual cause” and not about the players.
“That’s what I would tell anybody, is to make sure it’s for the right reason,” Rivers said. “And I think in this case it is.”
Crawford happy to play
For the first time in his 14-year career, Jamal Crawford was ejected from a game Monday night against the Phoenix Suns.
Crawford, who left before speaking to reporters after that game, didn’t have much to say Wednesday night about being kicked out by referee Mark Lindsay.
He had scored 18 points, including a jumper with 1:50 left that gave the Clippers a four-point lead against Indiana.
“I just wanted to play,” Crawford said. “The last game I only played 19 minutes. I just want to play.”
Jordan Farmar, who missed two games because of back spasms, played Wednesday night against the Pacers, scoring five points. Reggie Bullock (sprained right ankle) and Chris Douglas-Roberts (strained right Achilles’) are still out injured.