Thunder players remain focused on Memphis as league reviews racist remarks

“We haven’t discussed it as a team, but everybody is pretty
knowledgeable of the situation,” Russell Westbrook said following a
Monday practice.

Sterling, owner of the Clippers since 1981, was
caught making racist remarks in an audio recording posted by TMZ and
Deadspin. Sterling appears to disparage a female friend for posting
photos of herself with African Americans and bringing them to Clippers
games.

“Don’t bring black people, and don’t come [to my games],” Sterling said.

Clippers players wore black socks and their warm-up jerseys inside out in protest during Sunday’s game against Golden State.

Caron
Butler, who was acquired by the Thunder in a trade this year, played
two seasons with the Clippers and said he had never met Sterling.

“I didn’t know him,” Butler said about his former owner. “I knew he was the owner. That was it.”

Butler said he supported his former teammates and believed Sterling’s comments were out of line.

“Those
are my brothers still,” Butler said about his former Clippers
teammates. “We have relationships outside of basketball, so I always
pull for them. I just thought it was a bad situation and unfortunate
situation. I agree with my peers all around the league that there is no
room in our league for that or our society.”

NBA Commissioner
Adam Silver first addressed the controversy during a press conference in
Memphis prior to OKC’s Saturday night game against the Grizzlies.
Silver said Sterling would be awarded due process but the league was
prepared to respond with punishment if Sterling’s comments were
verified.

“All members of the NBA family should be afforded due
process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy,
which is why I’m not yet prepared to discuss any potential sanctions
against Donald Sterling,” Silver said. “We will, however, move
extraordinarily quickly in our investigation.”

As the Thunder
prepare for game five of the seven-game series on Tuesday, Westbrook
said his team was focused on Memphis and had faith the league would act
accordingly.

“The league is going to take care of that, and hopefully they do what they need to do to take care of it,” Westbrook said.

Ben Felder

Ben is an urban affairs reporter covering local government and education in Oklahoma City. He lives in OKC with his wife, Lori, and son, Satchel. Ben holds a masters in new media journalism from Full Sail University and is an OKC transplant from Kansas City, Mo. Twitter: @benfelder_okg

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