Programming note: Coverage of Game 5 between the Warriors and Clippers begins Tuesday night at 7:00 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Warriors Pregame Live. (Channel locations)
Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Monday that if he were a basketball fan eager to see Game 5 between his team and the Clippers on Tuesday night at Staples Center, he'd have to miss it.
And he invites the possibility that fans opt out of attending the game in the wake of hateful and racist comments allegedly made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
"The loudest statement to be made,'' Jackson said at the Warriors facility in downtown Oakland, "is to not show up.''
Jackson's comments might seem surprising – he's condoning the notion of an empty arena for a game involving the Warriors – or even extreme.
But not when you consider the chorus of voices around the league condemning behavior attributed to Sterling. Magic Johnson, a central figure in Sterling's rant, says he no longer will attend Clippers games. Kobe Bryant wants Sterling removed from the ranks of NBA owners. Miami superstar LeBron James says if Sterling owned the Heat, he might not suit up to play.
"I'm not sure if a guy like that is allowed to own a team in 2014,'' Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki told the Dallas Morning News.
And when you consider Jackson's other passion, the ministry, his strong comments are not surprising at all. Time after time, he talks of the importance of principle. He often says if all he can do is coach his team as basketball players, and not also as men, he has failed.
"If it was me, I wouldn't come to the game,'' Jackson said. "I believe the loudest statement that they can make, as far as fans, is to not show up to the game.''
Jackson took note of the NBA's racial progression being ahead of other major American sports leagues, pointing out the representation management and other front office positions.
He said he expects NBA commissioner Adam Silver – who is scheduled to make an announcement on Tuesday – to act swiftly and strongly and do the right thing.
In the meantime, the fans can make their voices heard.
"(Staying away) would make the noise of it not being tolerated,'' Jackson said, "that this is a different time.''