Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson had some candid advice to fans about what they should do in light of the hateful comments allegedly made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling. His instructions are simple: Boycott Game 5 in Los Angeles (the first home game since the recording surfaced).
"If it was me, I wouldn’t come to the game," Jackson told ESPN.com Monday. "I believe as fans, the loudest statement they could make as far as fans is to not show up to the game."
Jackson was not just applying this to Clippers fans. He made sure to point out that he is advising Warriors fans to not show up either.
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"As an African-American man that’s a fan of the game of basketball and knows its history and knows what’s right and what’s wrong, I would not come to the game tomorrow, whether I was a Clipper fan or a Warrior fan," he said.
These comments that were allegedly made by Sterling are part of a 15-minute portion of an hour-long recording that surfaced late last Friday and has been the talk of all major news outlets, not just sports media. In a lot of people’s opinions, this is bigger than sports. The comments from the man alleged to be Sterling included his urge to not have his former girlfriend, V. Stiviano, bring black people to Clippers games.
"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?" the man alleged to be Sterling says. He adds, "You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in. You can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games."
Some people have been asking why players have not taken a bigger stand and not play. Jackson gave some insight on how completely different it is on how fans and players should handle the situation.
"Should the Clippers boycott? They’re getting paid to play," Jackson said. "They’ve got families and bills. This is their job. This is their livelihood. They dreamt their whole life for it. Same thing with us.
"But it’s different for me to pay to come see it."
Jackson also touched on what his team discussed in terms of how it should handle the situation. The Warriors have elected to play it out just as they were doing before the recording surfaced.
"We talked about it," Jackson said, "and the biggest statement would be playing and pouring our hearts out into something we dreamt about doing and doing it in a way where, no matter what color we are, we do this with class and dignity and integrity, and the evidence would clearly dictate that."
When asked about how the NBA should deal with the situation, Jackson is leaving it up to NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Tuesday there will be a news conference in New York for Silver to address how it will be handled.
"I’ve got total confidence in the commissioner," Jackson said. "It’s an unfortunate position that he’s in, but I’ve got total confidence in how he’s going to handle it."
To Jackson, this isn’t just a hit to the Clippers organization, and it is bigger than Sterling.
"The statements were not made toward, other than maybe a line or two, the Clippers," Jackson said. "The statements made toward all of us — not just African-Americans — I mean, all of us should be insulted."
If you were looking for a strong opinion from someone in the NBA, you got it.