Doc Rivers: Donald Sterling’s alleged comments can’t be a distraction

Said Coach Doc Rivers of the Clippers chasing an NBA title despite the new controversy surrounding owner Donald Sterling: "We're not going to let anything get in the way of those dreams."
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Saturday afternoon that his team would not allow alleged racist statements attributed to owner Donald Sterling to distract his team as it prepared to resume its first-round playoff series against Golden State.

“This is a situation where we’re trying to go after something very important for us, something that we’ve all dreamed about all our childhoods, and Donald or anyone else had nothing to do with that dream and we’re not going to let anything get in the way of those dreams,” Rivers told an unusually large media throng after practice at the University of San Francisco.

“And as far as the comments, we’re not happy with any of them but we’re going to let the due process -- everything -- get handled and that situation will be dealt with later. Right now, our goals haven’t changed. Our focus is on Golden State and it’s going to stay on Golden State.”


TMZ released an audio recording late Friday night that purportedly captures Sterling making racist statements in the course of an argument with a female friend.

A voice identified by TMZ as belonging to Sterling can be heard telling the friend, identified as V. Stiviano, that he was upset she posted a picture on her Instagram account of herself next to Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” Sterling allegedly says, later adding, “I’m just saying, in your … Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.

“Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”

The Clippers released a statement questioning the authenticity of the recording and the motives of Stiviano, who the team says is the defendant in a $1.8-million embezzlement case brought by the Sterling family.

The NBA said it is investigating the matter.

Rivers said players voiced their displeasure with Sterling’s alleged remarks during a 45-minute team meeting Saturday morning.

“No one was happy about it,” Rivers said. “J.J. Redick was just as pissed as Chris Paul and that’s the way it should be.”

Sterling has not reached out to the team since his alleged statements were made public, Rivers said. Rivers said he listened to the entire 9 minute 26 second audio file on

“Listen, it’s disturbing if you hear it from anyone,” Rivers said. “It doesn’t matter if he works with us or works for us. It doesn’t matter. It’s a disturbing comment but we have to be above it right now. There will be a time and a place for us to have a reaction, but this is not the time for us and this is not the place.”

Rivers said the idea of boycotting Game 4 on Sunday at Oracle Arena in protest was raised but quickly dismissed.

“Honestly, I’m completely against that and they were too,” Rivers said. “Why should we let someone’s comments stop what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to do something too here and we don’t want that to get in the way of what we want to do.

“I think the biggest statement we can make as men -- not as black men, as men -- is to stick together and show how strong we are as a group, not splinter, not walk. It’s easy to protest. The protest will be in our play.”