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Sports Watching and Wondering

Open Letter to Doc Rivers

African American news from Pasadena - Sports - open letter to Doc RiversGood morning Doc:

African American news from Pasadena - Sports - Doc RiversI have not had the pleasure of meeting you, but I am one of your biggest fans. I have long considered you to be one of the three top head coaches in the NBA. It is clear to anyone who is noticing that you are building the Clippers into a championship organization.

The situation with Donald T. Sterling is an absolute mess. There isn't any other way to describe it. The media has quoted you as saying that you will resign from the Clippers, if the Sterling issue is not resolved soon. I do hope that you will not resign and that you will stay with the Clippers, even if things get worse than they are now.

As unpleasant and as stressful as dealing with Sterling must have been for you, it is ironic that it has been good for your career. As a result of this fiasco, you are now both the President and the head coach of the team. I assume that this promotion to President brought you an increase in salary, and some other perks. You may not have planned it this way, but it is a good idea to take any gift promotion that comes along.

With respect to Sterling, it is highly likely that some of the other NBA owners share his thoughts, although they have not been recorded saying them. So, Sterling does not love you. If you are receiving your paychecks on time, do you need his love? It might be worthwhile for you to consider the relationship between LeBron James and the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. When James left the Cavs five years ago to play in Miami, the owner of his old team was quite disappointed and upset. He wrote a letter denouncing James, and also calling him among other things a "Coward" and a "Traitor". This letter was also posted on the Cavaliers web site until about 60 days ago.

After playing in Miami for five years, James became homesick for the city of Akron, Ohio. This would mean that he would be playing basketball again for a man who had publicly called him many names. In the hope of luring James back to play for the Cavaliers, the letter was removed from the web site, and James was given a public apology. I suspect that the two of them are not best buddies, and it is likely that they don't see each other that much. The checks to James are paid when they're supposed to be, and that turns out to be the most important thing.

New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is doing everything that he can do to resolve this issue. It is probably a big surprise to him that one of the owners would sue the NBA, since they have all agreed in writing that they would never do that. Sterling's willingness to sue the NBA might explain why Commissioner David Stern allowed him to have the worst team in the NBA for about 30 years. There were also reported instances of Sterling not paying salaries according to the contracts, after he had fired coaches or players.

There is also the issue of Commissioner Stern canceling the trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers. This was an unprecedented move on his part, and most of us do not have a clear understanding of why he did what he did. If he had done that to Sterling, would he have been sued? Should the Lakers take the trouble to sue Commissioner Stern now?

So far, you and others like Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson have earned the respect of most of the nation for the way that you have conducted yourselves during this crisis. You are a great coach, and even when things were very tough, you did not run away from a fight. You are Doc Rivers, the President and Head Coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. You have always been the man who would not back down. Please do this for Crispus Attucks, Harriet Tubman, A. Phillip Randolph, Dorrie Miller, Jackie Robinson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Medger Evers, and yourself.

John Randolph Rogers

[To contact John Randolph Rogers, email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .]



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