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OKLAHOMA CITY -- 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.
Rivers said Monday 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."
|Clippers coach Doc Rivers doesn't think the apology made by Donald Sterling was much of an apology.|
Rivers followed up with his thoughts on the interview at the Clippers' shootaround Tuesday.
"I wasn't looking for him to say anything," he said, noting he only saw pieces of the interview. "I've been asked a hundred times: 'Do you accept the apology?' I wasn't looking for him to say anything. I'm not looking for an apology or anything. Right now I'm focused on our guys and being above all that. That's fine; he's going to keep doing what he does. We have to keep doing our jobs, though."
Asked if he was surprised by Sterling's continued attacks on the former Lakers great, Rivers added: "I don't know if I am or not, to be honest."
Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin also were asked about Sterling saying all his players love him.
"I don't know about all that," Paul said. "I love my wife, my kids, my family and my teammates."
Added Griffin: "Throughout the past two weeks we've tried to make it as much not about that and not about what's going on with him. If you ask every single guy on this team, they'll say they love their family, they love their teammates and that's who we're playing for and that's really the bottom line."
Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement Monday night at the end 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
Rivers spoke to Clippers interim CEO Dick Parsons, who arrived in Los Angeles on Monday, before the team left for Oklahoma City for Tuesday's Game 5 against the Thunder. The best-of-seven, second-round series is tied 2-2.
While Rivers, as the senior vice president of basketball operations, will continue to run the basketball side of the team, he said the addition of Parsons will help calm the franchise during this transition period.
"He's going to make a big difference," Rivers said. "Obviously he's just gotten in the door. Today is the first time he's been in L.A. He's going to make a big difference, especially for the folks in downtown, they have lives and careers, and they want to know if they're safe -- where do we go from here? Dick can do that, and I can really just focus on the basketball part. That's really the only thing I'm qualified to do anyway. So I think it's really important getting someone in place and being able to calm the nerves and do their job and allow everybody else to do their jobs. I think that's really important. Getting Dick in is a huge step in the right direction I think for us."