The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Raptors vocal about Clippers owner Sterling ahead of investigation

  • Print

BROOKLYN, NY, N.Y. - On the Toronto Raptors' bus ride to practise Saturday, talk wasn't about the upcoming game against the Brooklyn Nets. It centred around the Los Angeles Clippers and owner Donald Sterling.

The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man identified as Sterling tells his girlfriend not to bring black people to games.

"Guys more than anything are saying, 'Something has to addressed, something has to be said,'" said Raptors forward Steve Novak, who spent two seasons (2008-'10) with the Clippers.

The league said it is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ's website.

In the recording, the man questions his girlfriend's association with minorities. TMZ reported the woman, V. Stiviano, who is of black and Mexican descent, posted a picture of herself with Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson on Instagram — which has since been removed.

"There's definitely not a place for it in the NBA, in this game," Novak said. "What makes it so strange is he's been an NBA owner for that many years (33), he's not someone who isn't associated with African Americans, someone who's benefited that much from African Americans. . . they've been such a positive part of his life.

"Sometimes there's very successful people who aren't very good people," Novak added about the American business magnate.

The man in the recording asked Stiviano not to broadcast her association with black people or bring black people to games. He specifically mentioned Magic Johnson on the recording, saying "don't bring him to my games, OK?"

"I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner," Johnson responded on Twitter.

He also said the alleged comments are "a black eye for the NBA" and felt bad that friends such as Clippers coach Doc Rivers and point-guard Chris Paul had to work for Sterling.

"I don't blame him. I wouldn't either," DeMar DeRozan said of Johnson's decision to boycott games.

DeRozan, who grew up in Compton just south of downtown Los Angeles, said he felt for the Clippers players, who lead their Western Conference playoff series against Golden State 2-1.

"Honestly, especially right now in the playoffs, they're trying to win their series so it's going to be interesting to see (how the players handle the situation)," DeRozan said.

Landry Fields added: "Right now they're kind of in a tough position. There's still playoffs to be played. But it is sad that now this has become an issue rather than Clipper basketball."

DeRozan was asked if he could play for an owner like Sterling.

"I don't know man, I don't know. I don't know," the all-star said with a shake of his head. "Me personally, I don't stand for nothing like that. It would be tough, it'd be tough."

Added Raptors coach Dwane Casey: "If it's true, it's a sad commentary on our society . . . on our society as a whole, being an African American myself."

Novak said the allegations are no surprise, players have known about previous discrimination cases against Sterling. He said the NBA must take action.

"I think it's personal to each and every guy," Novak said. "More than anything I don't think the league can sit back and say it didn't happen, if it did.

"There's no way that should be tolerated. I don't think in any workplace in the world you can speak that way about anybody, and in our league especially."

New NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a press conference before the Grizzlies' playoff game in Memphis that the audio is "disturbing and offensive."

"All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy, which is why I'm not yet prepared to discuss any potential sanctions against Donald Sterling," Silver said. "We will, however, move extraordinarily quickly in our investigation."

Novak added it's a huge black eye to the NBA ownership group.

"The owners in the NBA are such an impressive group of people," he said. "Look at all the owners and what they've done, and all the good things that they do, and so for something like that to come out, to be grouped as an NBA owner type-thing is unfortunate."

Sterling has been involved in several lawsuits over the years. Novak played for the Clippers when the owner was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2009. Sterling agreed to pay US$2.73 million to settle allegations by the government that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics and blacks and to families with children.

Sterling is the longest-tenured owner in the NBA since Lakers owner Jerry Buss died last year.

— With files from The Associated Press.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Tree remover has special connection to Grandma Elm

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who are the real Bombers?

View Results

Ads by Google