Doc Rivers understands that he has to talk about Donald Sterling but he has made it clear that he doesn't want to talk to Donald Sterling. The head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers revealed during a conference call with reporters that he rebuffed an offer to speak with the team's owner.
"I was asked do I need to talk with Donald and I passed, quite honestly," Rivers said during the conference call on Monday. "I don’t think right now is the time or the place for me at least. So I just took a pass."
A 52-year-old former NBA player in his first season as head coach of the Clippers, Rivers admitted that he believes Sterling made the racist remarks heard in audio recordings released by TMZ and Deadspin over the weekend. The NBA announced it was investigating the matter on Saturday and have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday to discuss the findings of that investigation.
“Yeah, I believe he said those things,” Rivers said.
In an act of silent protest indicating they agree with Rivers about the veracity of the recording, Clippers players warmed up for their playoff game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday with their team-issued shirts worn inside out to obscure the team name and logo. After losing that game 118-97 in Oakland, the team returned to Los Angeles for Game 5 of their best-of-seven playoff series on Tuesday.
“I think this is a defining moment, but I think we’ll have more defining moments,” Rivers said of the NBA's chance to take a stand against racism. “I think this is a very important decision. I hope that it’s a very strong message, and I believe that it will be. But other than that, I’m just going to let the league do what it needs to do. And then after that, I think the players and myself will have a reaction.”
As the NBA determines its course of action and the players wait to fully share their reactions, Rivers isn't interested in hearing any explanation from Sterling.
"I haven’t given him an opportunity to explain himself and quite honestly right now I don’t want him to or want him to to me," he said.