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Pacers staff, players have strong words on Donald Sterling controversy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 29, 2014)– Indiana Pacers players are weighing in on the controversial comments allegedly made by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling to his girlfriend.

On the recording obtained by TMZ, Sterling allegedly tells his girlfriend that “it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people…” and, “You can sleep with (black people). You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on (social media) … and not bring them to my games.”

“It’s tough for those guys, and I feel for those guys,” said Paul George, speaking about the Clippers players.

One of those guys he feels for, says George, is former Indiana player Danny Granger.

“Knowing Danny, I know he’s pissed about the situation,” said George. “Danny is a very vocal person. He likes to share what’s on his mind, so I know it’s nothing pretty.”

The Clippers staged a silent protest at their last game, wearing plain red shirts during their warm-ups.

So what would Paul George do?

“I would play, but if I know that that’s going to be my owner for years to come, that’s going to be a different situation.”

George went on to say he’d ask for a trade at the end of the season.

“I would be out of here. More than that, I would ask for him to be out of it.”

Teammate George Hill said he’d hang up his jersey immediately.

“I wouldn’t play,” said Hill. “My season would’ve been over with. For me personally, I think it’s bigger than money. I think it’s bigger than basketball. I think it’s a great opportunity to take a stand and let people know that we’re not just athletes, we’re human beings and we’re just like you guys.”

Roy Hibbert said, “Our owners are cool and very low key and I’m very appreciative to be in the situation I’m in. I’m happy we don’t have to worry about that and can just focus on the basketball.”

Coach Frank Vogel said, “It’s a tough situation that Doc (L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers) is in, that the whole team is in. I think they’re handling it well and I just wish them the best with it.”

Owner Herb Simon released the following statement Monday afternoon:

“I want our players, our coaches and everyone in our community to know that I believe statements attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling are appalling, offensive and totally contrary to my core beliefs and everyone in our entire organization. I am confident that Commissioner Adam Silver, who will speak tomorrow, and his staff will exercise due diligence on behalf of the National Basketball Association, its players and our fans and arrive at a solution that addresses the seriousness of this situation.”

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, chair of the Mayors Professional Sports Alliance, released a statement on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors:

“The nation’s mayors find the alleged statements made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to be totally unacceptable. We do not believe that this kind of behavior is acceptable in the National Basketball Association or any of our major sports leagues. We call for The NBA Commissioner to take swift and appropriate action.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is scheduled to talk about the Sterling situation Tuesday afternoon.