Clippers coach Doc Rivers has been thrown into a tough spot in light of the Donald Sterling scandal.
Should Rivers keep coaching the Clippers? Should he have accepted the job in the first place? Who are his allies in the organization.
It sounds as if he considers Sterling’s wife, Shelly, on his side. Rivers, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“It’s a tough one for Shelly [Sterling], really,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said following a 113-103 Game 5 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. “She didn’t do anything wrong either. You have compassion for her. I kept hearing about the girlfriend. I kept thinking, ‘Shelly is the wife. You know what I mean? I talked to her [Tuesday] and she has been through as much as anyone as well.”
Rivers admitted he should have better researched Donald Sterling’s housing discrimination before taking the job, but I’m not sure he’s truly learned that lesson. Rivers in a Q&A, as transcribed by Rusty Simmons of SFGate:
Q. Was Sterling’s past with housing discrimination and his issues a consideration when you took the job? “It wasn’t, honestly. I knew the past outside of that. Really didn’t know a lot about that, to be honest, and probably should have, I guess. So, no.”
Here’s a head start on your next research, Doc:
Maybe Rivers knows more about Shelly than the plaintiffs of that case do. Her conduct has been so confounding that perhaps only those who’ve spoken extensively with her have a clue what she thinks. I know I don’t have one.
More likely, Rivers has just been too busy coaching in the playoffs to research Shelly. I’m saddened he might be just setting himself up again for a bad situation.
Perhaps fortunately for Rivers, the players union is looking out to ensure Shelly doesn’t remain near a position of power:
While the NBA is attempting to push Sterling out as owner, it’s uncertain if his wife or any other family member could take over the franchise. National Basketball Players Association vice-president Roger Mason, Jr., however, told Yahoo Sports that the players want completely new ownership and not a family member connected to Sterling. A source said that Shelley Sterling would like for her son-in-law Eric Miller, the Clippers’ Director of Basketball Administration, to take over the franchise.
“We’re looking for a change in ownership. A complete change,” Mason said.
The NBA shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, but the league better do its due diligence into Shelly before letting Sterling’s family keep the team.