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NBA players protest racist talk attributed to L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling

Michael Jordan denounces "such sickening and offensive views"

Ralph Ellis and Steve Almasy | 4/28/2014, 6:49 a.m.
The players in the National Basketball Association spoke out Sunday about racist comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald ...
LA Clippers players hit the court for warm-ups wearing the warm-up jerseys backwards as a sign of protest toward owner Donald Sterling. Sterling is accused of making racist remarks in audio recordings recently released. Michael Flasch/CNN

— The players in the National Basketball Association spoke out Sunday about racist comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

The Clippers players staged a silent protest. As they warmed up for an NBA playoff game, the players removed their warmup shirts bearing team logos to reveal red T-shirts worn inside out, with the logos hidden. They finished warming up, removed the red shirts and played the game wearing their regular uniforms.

The National Basketball Players Association demanded Sterling be barred from all playoff games this season. The players also want an accounting of past accusations of racism against Sterling; an explanation of what kind of discipline might be issued; assurance that the league commissioner will work with the association; and assurance the investigation will be conducted swiftly.

And throughout the day, past stars including Michael Jordan slammed Sterling.

Sterling wasn't there to see the protest or his team lose 118-97 to the Golden State Warriors. He agreed to stay away from the game because of the controversy that heightened Sunday when the website Deadspin released an additional audio recording of a conversation that purports to be Sterling talking with girlfriend V. Stiviano earlier this month.

Neither Deadspin nor TMZ, which released a similar recording Saturday, said where they got the recordings. Stiviano's lawyer's office said Sunday that she didn't release the recordings but that they're legitimate.

"This office understands that the currently released audio tape of approximately 15 minutes is a portion of approximately one (1) hour of overall audio recording of Mr. Donald T. Sterling and Ms. Stiviano, and is in fact legitimate," Mac E. Nehoray said in a news release. "Ms. Stiviano did not release the tape(s) to any news media."

The 15-minute Deadspin recording purports to be Sterling talking with Stiviano about her Instagram photo feed. The photos include images of her with African-Americans, including NBA great Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

If authentic, the remarks seem to reflect Sterling's embarrassment and frustration with Stiviano over her associating with African-Americans at Clippers games and for posting such pictures on her Instagram account.

Three NBA legends lashed out at Sterling Sunday.

Jordan, considered the league's greatest player and now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, said: "As an owner, I'm obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. ... As a former player, I'm completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA -- or anywhere else -- for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed."

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was a Clippers special assistant coach in 2000, told CNN: "I know him. I know his voice. I am not surprised by this very much."

But Abdul-Jabbar said Sterling was congenial in person and said he never heard any racist words from Sterling. Still, the recording shows a "repugnant attitude for someone to have, and for him to be an employer for so many people of color, it kind of blows your mind."

Johnson, speaking on an ABC pregame show Sunday, said Sterling needs to go.