Doc Rivers Speaks Out, Expresses Hope, Disdain for Donald Sterling Conterversy

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2014

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 27: Head Coach Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers talks to the media prior to the game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at Oracle Arena on April 27, 2014 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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As the controversy surrounding Donald Sterling continues to unfold, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers spoke with the media over a conference call on Monday.

His willingness to be the face and voice of the team in this difficult circumstance is noteworthy:

And there are few coaches and leaders in the NBA who could handle the situation with as much class and professionalism as Rivers:

Among other things, Rivers addressed Sterling's history with racial issues. According to CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet, it's littered with "...accusations of racism in connection with the NBA team and his real estate properties, according to court documents."

It's proof, assuming the comments were indeed made by Sterling. At this stage, everything is still "alleged," but Rivers is confident the voice on the tape obtained by TMZ is Sterling's:

Understandably, Clippers players are having a hard time dealing with and responding to the reality of this:

Rivers even said that his Clippers were affected during Sunday's Game 4 clash with the Golden State Warriors:

Whether they're able to bounce back from Sunday's loss remains to be seen. Obviously, they'll still be trying to handle this new weight that's been thrust onto them:

The bigger picture has nothing to do with wins and losses, but Rivers believes a deep run in the playoffs by his team will foster discussion:

As the Clippers continue to fight for each other on the floor, Rivers hopes the team's fans will rally behind them:

One of their most visible supporters is already in their corner:

Rivers and his players will continue to do their job for fans like Billy Crystal and everyone else who's supported them this year.

In the meantime, commissioner Adam Silver has the responsibility of responding to Sterling's comments from the league's standpoint. Rivers is confident Silver will do the right thing:

Other decisions will have to be made beyond Silver's. Some have wondered whether or not Rivers will choose to return to the Clippers next season. He addressed the speculation:

The players will be affected as well. Rivers optimistically believes that this adversity will serve as a learning experience and benefit them in the long run:

The overall discourse should be beneficial as well:

We've come a long way as a country over the last few decades, but this incident with Sterling is an ugly reminder that there is still racism out there.

The NBA and those affiliated with the Clippers now have an opportunity to combat it on a massive stage. Rivers made it clear Monday that he's not backing down from this fight.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.