Doc Rivers: Donald Sterling's 'apology' is too little, too late

Doc Rivers: Donald Sterling's 'apology' is too little, too late
Doc Rivers: Donald Sterling's 'apology' is too little, too late

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes Donald Sterling's televised apology came too late.

The NBA banned Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million and is attempting to force him to sell the Clippers after he told a friend he didn't want her bringing African-Americans to games. His apology was taped by CNN 15 days after TMZ Sports first revealed the recording of his comments.

"I'm glad that he did it," Rivers said of Sterling's apology. "I don't have much more comments than that. But I think that's what you have to do, and you should do it. He probably should have done it right away.

"…I personally don't need [an apology]. 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."

New Clippers CEO Dick Parsons, who was appointed by the league last week to help run the franchise until it is sold, seconded Rivers' words.

"I would observe, as most Americans would, that he's a little late, to be sure," Parsons said of Sterling.

Sterling also told his friend V. Stiviano in the recording that she should not take pictures on Instagram or go to Clippers games with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Sterling told CNN that Johnson is not a "good example for the children of Los Angeles. He would go and do what he did and got AIDs."

Rivers was glad to hear Johnson attended the Clippers' 101-99 victory over the Thunder on Sunday, but he didn't think much of Sterling's latest comments about Johnson.

"I'll stand by Magic every day of the year because I've known him for a long time," Rivers said. "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. I'm going to leave it alone because I don't know exactly the context. I think it's safer to do that."

Said Parsons: "Everybody loves Magic. The Magic I know is a terrific guy and a great role model."

Sterling said in the CNN interview he hoped to be forgiven, he made a mistake and he isn't a racist. Rivers planned to avoid watching Sterling's interview and everything else connected to the controversy.

"What I've decided to do is anytime anything comes on, I usually turn, not because of some protest or anything, I just don't need the clutter right now," Rivers said. "I got the basketball operations. I got the team. We're in the middle of the playoffs. So for right now what I've decided to do is just kind of tune out, if you want to say. It's just right for me right now.

"I'm sure at some point I will sit down and listen and hear. I'll hear it anyway from somebody what's been said. I'll probably react from there. I'm just too focused on what we're doing right now."

Parsons said the Clippers could become "America's team" in the aftermath of Sterling.

"America loves a story where someone gets knocked down and then gets back up into the ring. This team has talent," Parsons said.

While Rivers hopes Parsons is right, he also knows it will depend on the Clippers' success in the playoffs. The Clippers have never won an NBA title.

"I don't know if we're going to be America's team and all that stuff," Rivers said. "I've heard that a lot, and it's great. I just want to be a winning team. I think when you become a winning team, you do become America's team. We all love winners.

"For us to do anything, I think winning has to be attached to it. All else follows. But the winning part has to come."

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