Outrage over racist comments purportedly made by embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling hit a crescendo Monday, with corporations pulling their sponsorship deals with the team and coach Doc Rivers saying he believes “a very strong message” is coming from the NBA in response to the scandal.
That message will come Tuesday, when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver holds a news conference in New York where he could reveal sanctions the league will impose on Sterling.
A suspension of indefinite length and hefty fine — Silver can issue one of up to $1 million without approval of owners — are possible options. However, it remains unclear how far Silver’s powers can reach at this point, even though the NBA constitution gives the commissioner’s office a lot of latitude to protect the game’s best interest.
Many players simply want Sterling ousted, with Lakers star Kobe Bryant tweeting he “should not continue owning the clippers.”
“It needs to be handled in the right way,” Rivers said. “I don’t even know what the right way is. I have a hunch. But I don’t know.”
The Clippers had Monday off, with Rivers saying he wanted his team to try and regroup mentally after a whirlwind weekend where Sterling’s alleged comments were revealed, first by TMZ and then in another recording posted on Deadspin. The NBA has not said if it was able to authenticate the tapes, but Sterling’s wife told KABC-TV in Los Angeles that it was her husband on the recordings.
Rivers, who has declined a chance to speak with his boss, believes Sterling is on the tape.
“I can’t tell you how upset I am,” Rivers said.
Tuesday is shaping up as a potentially seismic day for the Clippers, in both the short- and long-term. Rivers’ team will host Golden State on Tuesday — about 8
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