Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers doesn’t think the apology made by banned team owner Donald Sterling on CNN was much of an apology at all.
While Rivers said he has yet to watch the interview, he was surprised to hear that Sterling said Magic Johnson hasn’t done enough for minorities and isn’t a good role model for children in Los Angeles.
“Obviously I know who Magic is,” Rivers said. “I’ll stand by Magic every day of the year because I’ve known him for a long time. Having said that, I don’t know what’s going on out there. I tried not to get involved in that part of it right now. Whatever it is, that doesn’t sound like much of an apology to me.”
Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement Monday night at the conclusion of Game 4 between the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets, again apologizing to Johnson on behalf of the league.
“I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling’s interview with Anderson Cooper, and while Magic Johnson doesn’t need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack,” the statement reads. “The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible.”
Sterling’s girlfriend, V. Stiviano, had posted a photo of her and Johnson on her Instagram account that Sterling told her to remove. He also told her not to bring Johnson or other minorities to Clippers games during a racist rant that prompted outrage throughout the NBA and the nation when it was released on TMZ, leading to his lifetime ban from the league just days later.
During Sterling’s interview with CNN, he said that he has spoken to Johnson twice since the audio recordings were leaked.
“If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry,” Sterling said. “He’s a good person. I mean, what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so. But I’ll say it, he’s great, but I don’t think he’s a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”
After Sterling’s rant came to light, Johnson said he would not attend any more Clippers games as long as Sterling was the owner, but he was at Sunday’s playoff game against the Oklahoma City Thunder along with Silver.
“I was really happy that he came,” Rivers said. “I didn’t know it until after the game. Actually, I was driving home and my wife told me, ‘Hey, it’s good to get Magic at the game.’ I said, ‘Magic was at the game?’ That’s when I found out about it. I thought that was very, very nice. A great gesture by Magic. I think it’s great for our fans to see him there.”
For his part, Johnson took to Twitter after the Heat’s Game 4 win, referencing Sterling but instead choosing to focus on the playoffs:
I’d rather be talking about these great NBA Playoffs than Donald Sterling’s interview.
– Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 13, 2014
When Rivers was asked again about Sterling’s apology, he said he was glad he did but that it should have come sooner.
“I think that’s what you have to do, and you should do it,” Rivers said. “He probably should have done it right away. Having said that, I don’t have much comment more than that. I haven’t heard the apology. I personally don’t need one. But I think the right thing is always when you make a mistake you should man up and apologize, so it’s good that he did it.”
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