Donald Sterling is toxic, or at least that is the sentiment from current Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers and interim CEO of the organization Richard Parsons, who testified Tuesday that Rivers would quit if Sterling were still the owner of the team.
“Doc is troubled by this, maybe more so than anybody else,” Parsons stated during a trial to decide if Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling, could sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. “If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach.”
According to the Associated Press, Parsons also voiced concerns that top Clippers players like Chris Paul, who also heads the NBA players union, would possibly sit out games if Sterling is not removed from the Clippers organization.
Since leaked recordings of Sterling making racist comments about African Americans emerged, the NBA has tried to force the embattled owner out.
Parsons testified that losing Rivers would be “a death spiral” for the Clippers. “If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster,” Parsons said, according to AP. “Doc is the father figure, the one who leads. He’s the coach. He’s the grown-up. He is able to connect with people and earn their trust. The team believes in him and loves him. If he were to leave, that is only going to accelerate the death spiral.”
Parsons, who was touted as the person to step in and guide the team’s financial decisions once the controversy exploded and Sterling was hit with a lifetime ban by first-year Commissioner Adam Silver, believes that having Sterling involved with the team in any capacity would surely lead to a huge financial loss.
“If your coach leaves, if your players don’t want to play with you, what do you have?” Parsons asked. “If your sponsors leave and the fans leave, it’s going to spiral down and down.”
Parsons noted that Kia Motors Corp. and Mandalay Bay Resorts in Las Vegas are undecided about whether to continue their relationships with the Clippers until the Sterling matter is resolved.
“We have a bunch of sponsors sitting at the edge of the pool, and they don’t want to go in if the Sterlings are there,” Parsons said.
Read more at the Associated Press.