SAN FRANCISCO -- Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, whose team leads the Warriors 2-1 in a best-of-seven playoff series, was upset and said his players were, too.
The Clippers during a 45-minute team meeting Saturday expressed their unhappiness and even briefly discussed a boycott after listening to comments attributed to owner Donald Sterling in which he asks a woman not to bring black people to games and publicly associate with them, including Magic Johnson.
"It upsets all of us," Rivers said, adding he was upset by the remarks and resulting distraction. "There's no one guy that's happy with the situation. Do you think I want to be talking about this instead of trying to stop Steph Curry? I don't."
The remarks made on the audio recording TMZ.com released late Friday night were called "disturbing and offensive" in a statement from NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass, adding that the league would investigate.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters in Memphis, Tennessee, that the investigation would determine the authenticity of the recording and that Sterling, who is scheduled to be interviewed, has agreed not to attend Game 4 at Oracle Arena on Sunday.
"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.
Clippers president Andy Roeser said in the statement the team would also investigate while adding that it did not know "if (the recording released by TMZ) is legitimate or it has been altered."
Roeser added that the woman on the recording that TMZ identified as V. Stiviano "is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would 'get even.' "
"Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings," Roeser said in a statement. "It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them."
Johnson tweeted that neither he nor his wife would attend Clippers games so long as Sterling owned the team.
The furor even attracted the attention of President Barack Obama during his visit to Malaysia. CNN reported that Obama, asked about Sterling's alleged comments, said: "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk. That's what happened here."
Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers' stars, would answer only "basketball questions" from reporters after practice at USF, with Paul referring to a statement he released as president of the National Basketball Player's Association that called the remarks "a very serious issue which we will address aggressively."
"The players are not going to deal with this issue," said Rivers, who indicated he would speak on behalf of his team. "This is a situation where we're trying to go after something very important for us, something that we've all dreamed about all our childhoods. Donald or anyone else has nothing to do with that dream."
Asked if the issue were bigger than the game, Rivers said: "That's easy for you to say. You haven't worked since two years old to win a title."
Rivers said the idea of a boycott was brought up in the team meeting but that he and his players were against it.
"I think the biggest statement we can make as men -- not as black men, as men -- is to stick together and show how strong we are as a group," Rivers said. "Not splinter. Not walk. It's easy to protest. The protest will be in our play."
Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who played for Sterling as a Clipper from 1992 to 1994, called the comments "unacceptable" after listening to some of the TMZ recording.
"I'm disappointed in the comments made," he said before practice in Oakland. "Unfortunate. I believe there's no place in society for those feelings, and it's just sad."