MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Before Monday’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat players shed their shirts to show they are also against comments believed to have been made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Just like the Clippers did on Sunday, the Heat wore their warm-up shirts inside out in a form of silent protest.
In the recording initially obtained by TMZ Sports, a man purported to be Sterling chastises his mixed race girlfriend over a photo showing her posing with NBA star Magic Johnson.
“Yes it bothers me a lot you want to promo, broadcast that you’re associating black people,” the man believed to be Sterling said in the recording.
Heat Star LeBron James has said there’s no room for racism in basketball…
On Monday, he and his teammates followed LA’s lead, wearing their warm-up shirts inside out.
While some appreciate the sentiment, others think it’s not enough.
“Back in the 60s, we would have protested,” said T. Willard Fair, a civil rights activist and the President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami. “I would not have played. I would have called on all NBA players not to play.”
He said he feels sorry for Coach Doc Rivers and the Clippers’ players and the negative attention brought upon the team by Sterling’s alleged comments.
“I think it’s foolish,” Fair explained. “I don’t know why he gets all of this attention for being stupid.”
Several big name sponsors are already yanking their support, a sign Sterling’s future with the team could be in serious jeopardy.
“I think he should step down,” Magic Johnson said. “If you feel like that in a league that’s predominately African American, you shouldn’t be owning a team.”
The NBA is trying to verify that it is in fact Sterling’s voice in the recording and that his comments were not altered in any way.
The league is expected to hold a news conference Tuesday.
That’s when we’ll find out what sanctions, if any, Donald Sterling may be facing.
According to a lawsuit filed by Sterling’s wife against his girlfriend, Sterling and V. Stiviano met in South Florida during Super Bowl XLIV in 2010.