Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson on Saturday denounced comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling as “reprehensible and unacceptable,” and said he would take a lead role in helping the NBA players union address the matter.
Johnson, a former NBA star with the Phoenix Suns, had been appointed April 7 as chairman of a search committee to find a new executive director for the National Basketball Players Association.
But Johnson’s role was expanded in light of recorded comments released by TMZ.com Friday night in which a man identified as Sterling is heard advising a female friend not to be seen associating with black people in public.
The NBA said it was investigating the matter, which comes in the middle of the league’s playoffs, and Clippers star Chris Paul, who also is president of the players union, issued a statement saying, “This is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively.”
Paul said he had asked Johnson “to expand his responsibilities” with the union and help “determine our response and our next steps.”
Johnson issued his own statement saying the players union “must and will play a very active role in determining how this issue is addressed.”
“There needs to be an immediate investigation, and if the reports are true, there needs to be swift and strong action taken,” the mayor said.
He added that he already had reached out to the NBA “to determine our next steps.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at a news conference Saturday night that the mayor had called him and indicated he intended to represent the players’ interests in seeing the matter addressed.
“He expressed to me the players’ grave concerns over this matter,” Silver said.
The comments on the recording sparked outrage among players, politicians and broadcasters, and Kings owner Vivek Ranadive weighed in via Twitter on Saturday night.
NBA Probing Alleged Recording of Clippers Owner
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