Posted by Penny Arévalo
The "despicable" racist remarks attributed to Clippers owner Donald Sterling drew bitter condemnation from his estranged wife today and appeared to have created an unbridgeable divide between him and his players.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, working on behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, said the players want the NBA to ban Sterling from attending future playoff games this season and levy the maximum possible punishment against him in response to the comments he purportedly made by him to girlfriend V. Stiviano, ESPN reported.
Meanwhile, the website Deadspin posted an extended version of the audio with better quality. The additional five minutes includes Stiviano saying that if it makes the Sterling happy she will remove all the black people from her Instagram.
Johnson met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Sunday before they attended Game 4 of the Clippers' first-round series against the Golden State Warriors. During the meeting, Johnson laid out what the players felt were key objectives in terms of the league's dealings with Sterling, according to ESPN.
"The players wanted to ensure that Mr. Sterling does not attend any games for the Clippers or any other team for the duration of the playoffs," Johnson said. "We're confident that the commissioner understood that this is an enormous distraction for everyone, and we want the focus to really be on the games and what's taking place on the court, and he certainly understood that."
He added: "We believe this is a defining moment for the league... It's defining moment for the commissioner and a defining moment for all the players in this league."
Johnson said he spoke to several NBA owners who were just as united as the players on the subject.
Sterling was at Game 3 Thursday night in Oakland and was planning to be at Game 4 on Sunday before speaking with the league and agreeing not to attend as it investigated his comments. Sterling's wife, Rochelle, however, was at Sunday's game and sat courtside across from the Clippers' bench in their 118-97 loss.
"I don't condone those statements and I don't believe in them," Rochelle Sterling told ESPN. "I'm not a racist. Never have been, never will be. The team is the most important thing to my family."
She elaborated on those statements this morning, saying in a statement: "Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband. My children and I do not share these despicable views or prejudices. We will not let one man's small mindedness poison the spirit of the fans and accomplishments of the team in the city we love. We are doing everything in our power to stand by and support our Clippers team."
The offensive remarks, which have not yet been authenticated by the NBA, were reported to have been made in a telephone conversation between Sterling and then girlfriend V. Stiviano.
The man reported to have been Sterling castigates Vibiano for an Instagram picture of her with Dodgers star Matt Kemp and part Dodgers owner Earvin "Magic" Johnson and tells her not to bring backs to "my games."
The comments have been roundly condemned, including by the nation's basketball fan in Chief, President Barack Obama.
--City News Service