Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers addressed the media before Game 5 of his team's first-round series against the Golden State Warriors. Rivers gave his reaction to Adam Silver's decision to ban Donald Sterling for life and the decision to urge the NBA owners to force the sale of the Clippers from Sterling. While Rivers has handled this entire situation with as much calm as you could ask for, he seemed fairly relieved and enthusiastic with commissioner Silver's decision.
"The last three or four days have been very difficult for everybody involved," Rivers said. "No matter what the race is, it's been difficult. I thought Adam Silver today was fantastic. Personally, I thought he made a decision that really was the right one, that had to be made. I don't think this is something we rejoice in or anything like that. I told the players about the decision and I think they were just happy it was a resolution. That it's over."
The recorded conversation of Sterling saying racist remarks came to light prior to Game 4, and the Clippers' players were visibly upset by such a horrible thing. They gave a silent protest in warmups before Game 4, wearing their shooting shirts inside-out and dropping their warmups with the Clippers' name and logo at center court. What followed was incredible support from players and owners around the league, which did not go unnoticed to Rivers.
"I've been proud of the players in the NBA, overall," Rivers said. "I've been proud of the ownership throughout the league and I think we're all in a better place because of this."
With Silver's hammering decision to punish Sterling with his the fullest capabilities, it allows this issue to move toward some closure and allows the players to move forward with their quest to march through the playoffs. The Clippers have to win two more games against the Warriors and if that happens, they'll take on the winner of the series between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"You always have to move forward," Rivers continued. "And I've said this before, obviously I've dealt with issues before, you learn over and over that when something like this happens with the burden of racism, it always falls on the person who has been offended to respond. I've always thought that was interesting. I felt the pressure on my players; everybody was waiting for them to give a response. I kept thinking, 'They didn't do anything, yet they have to respond.' So Adam [Silver] responded. I thought that was the sigh of relief we needed."