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Players would have boycotted Tuesday’s games if Silver soft-pedaled Sterling response

Apr 29, 2014, 5:52 PM EDT

Once corporate sponsors started pulling out and other NBA owners started lining up against him, Adam Silver had the motive and backing to come down hard on Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling for his racist comments.

If he hadn’t, NBA players would have boycotted the three playoff games scheduled for Tuesday night.

That’s what NBA players union vice president Roger Mason Jr. said at the union’s press conference Tuesday shortly after Silver’s announcement.

“Additionally I reached out to other players around the league and made it clear that the players were ready to boycott the games if this kind of action was not something Adam Silver felt was necessary,” Mason Jr. said. “I’m happy to come here today and say that as players we are very happy with the decision.”

Clippers’ players had already talked about a stronger statement being needed, this is what they likely meant.

Silver had to act because Sterling’s words on a private conversation had blown up into the biggest black eye for the league since the Malice at the Palace brawl where players went into the stands to punch fans. A player boycott would have blown that up to another level.

Mason Jr. also said the union wants follow up from Silver.

“We want immediate action, we want a timetable form the owners as to when this vote is going to happen,” Mason Jr. said. “But we feel confident that with Adam Silver’s urging, and obviously we’ve heard from a lot of owners around the league, we think this is something that can be handled quickly.”

The Donald Sterling situation is far from over, but for now Silver has avoided some of the most public protests from players we would have ever seen.

  1. 1historian - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    The biggest word in the english language is ‘if”.

    If you believe what they said, I have some prime oceanfrobnt land in Brattleboro Vermont for you – for a song.

  2. breesus09 - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Illmatic
    If intolerance is what everyone is mad at Sterling about. Not disciplining a player over intolerant statements in the same manner shows that none of this outrage was ginuine. Equality means everyone has to be treated equally

  3. breesus09 - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Illmatic
    If intolerance is what everyone is mad at Sterling about. Not disciplining a player over intolerant statements in the same manner shows that none of this outrage was ginuine. Equality means everyone has to be treated equally

  4. philliephaninva - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    The entire team should walk. Good luck getting players to replace them. Maybe this SOB will enjoy sitting in the stands all by himself looking at an empty court.

    • bougin89 - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      If you’re referring to Sterling he isn’t allowed to attend NBA games.

  5. 1historian - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    A boycott by the players depends on whether or not you believe they WOULD have done it. I personally don’t think they would have had the stones.

    The ONLY boycott that matters would have to come from the fans.

    And that will never happen

  6. dirk504 - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    I’m black and could care less. At least we know where Sterling stands. There’s probably plenty of other owners who will never get caught on tape.

    • ranfan12 - Apr 30, 2014 at 12:13 AM

      As long as they don’t get caught, that’s fine. If it goes public they will likely suffer also though lol

  7. eagles512 - Apr 30, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    So screw the fans going to your game over an idiot owner being taped saying some stupid things? Why not let the process play out? Would have been disgraceful not to play.

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