While everyone awaits NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's decision—expected sometime Tuesday—regarding the purported racist ramblings of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson is calling for an L.A. boycott of Game 5 of the playoffs.
In what would be L.A.'s first home game since the recordings were leaked to TMZ, Jackson believes both Clippers and Warriors fans should sit Tuesday's game out.
"If it was me, I wouldn't come to the game. I believe as fans, the loudest statement they could make as far as fans is to not show up to the game," said Jackson on Monday, according to the New York Daily News. "As an African-American man that's a fan of the game of basketball and knows its history and knows what's right and what's wrong, I would not come to the game tomorrow, whether I was a Clipper fan or a Warrior fan."
As Jackson clearly voiced his displeasure with Sterling's alleged comments, Clippers coach Doc Rivers continued to struggle with the media onslaught, the turmoil surrounding the fallout and managing a team in crisis. Speaking with the media Monday after canceling practice, Rivers, in his first year of a three-year $21 million contract, said that he had slept as little as 45 minutes since the recordings were released over the weekend.
ESPN reported that Rivers declined to speak one-on-one with Sterling and wasn't sure if he would return to coach the team next year. He also told reporters that he believes that the voice on the recordings and the feelings expressed were indeed Sterling's.
"I still want to make sure [the recording] hasn't been doctored, but yes," Rivers said, "… as far as believing those things, I heard what he said. Until someone tells me differently, you usually listen to what people say. I haven't given him his due process. I haven't given him an opportunity to explain himself and quite honestly right now don't want him to, or don't want him to to me. I'll wait for that further judgment."
"These last 48 hours or more have been really hard for our players and for everyone," Rivers said. "I would just like to reiterate how disappointed I am in the comments attributed to our owner, and I can't tell you how upset I am and our players are."
On Monday, the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, Leon Jenkins, said at a news conference that not only would the civil rights group no longer honor Sterling with would have been a second lifetime achievement award, but that the chapter would return all donations made by Sterling, according to the Associated Press.
Jenkins would not say how much money Sterling had donated or specify how much money the chapter planned to give back, AP reported.
Sterling had been scheduled to receive the latest lifetime achievement honor May 15 as a part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the Los Angeles branch of the nation's oldest civil rights organization. Sterling had been selected to receive the award because of his history of donating basketball tickets to inner-city children and making contributions to minority charities, Jenkins told reporters.
"There is a personal, economic and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn back the clock on race relations," he said.
Later, Jenkins would trample over his earlier denouncement of Sterling by saying he didn't believe the words heard on the recording truly reflect Sterling's heart.
"God teaches us to forgive, and the way I look at it, after a sustained period of proof to the African American community that those words don't reflect his heart, I think there's room for forgiveness. I wouldn't be a Christian if I said there wasn't," Jenkins told ABC News.
Jenkins also noted that while the L.A. chapter of the NAACP was "devastated" by the comments, it would still be willing to work with Sterling.
"We are negotiating with him about giving more monies to African American students at UCLA, and so we are in preliminary discussions," Jenkins said. Although he would later say that he had not spoken with Sterling since the recordings were leaked.
In addition, sponsors have been leaping off the public-relations "Titanic" known as the Clippers, with the Huffington Post reporting that Carmax, Virgin America, Mercedes-Benz and Chumash Casino Resort have all terminated their relationship with the organization. A host of others, including Corona, State Farm, Kia, AQUAhydrate, Red Bull, Sprint and Lumber Liquidators, are suspending their support of the team. State Farm will, however, continue its relationship with Clippers point guard Chris Paul, Huffington Post reported.
The Miami Heat joined in the warm-up silent solidarity protest during their Monday night NBA playoff game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Just as the Clippers did during a playoff game Sunday, Heat players huddled at center court and threw their white shooting T-shirts to the floor. They wore their red Heat warm-up jerseys inside out, hiding the team's logo during their pregame routine, the Associated Press reported.
R&B singer Tank, who was scheduled to sing the national anthem at Tuesday's Clippers game, has also taken up the protest, telling TMZ that he cannot be associated with an owner who makes minorities feel unwelcome.
"As an African-American man and artist, I must take a stand on a matter that is so deeply personal to me," Tank told the gossip site.
"In light of the recent disturbing and offensive allegations, in good conscience, I cannot move forward with my scheduled appearance at Tuesday's Los Angeles Clippers game."
Clippers coach Rivers said he hopes that fans can look past the owner's purported racist rant to remember that the players and the coaches still need their support.
"That's the thing I got from all of them. They didn't sign on for this, but they're a part of this," Rivers said regarding how the players feel, ESPN reported. "They're upset at this, but they're going to hang in there, and so are we as a group and as a team. I have to do a better job with our guys and get them back. From our fans' standpoint, being here for the past 10 hours since we landed, they've been amazing. We need them. I can tell you that. We need unbelievable support right now from other people, and we're hoping we get that tomorrow."
Read more at The Root: