By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Detroit Piston Chauncey Billups played for the Los Angeles Clippers for two years under the ownership of Donald Sterling, who has come under heavy fire nationally for racially charged comments he allegedly made to a mistress in a phone conversation that was recorded.
More than half a dozen sponsors have severed ties with the Clippers or suspended their relationships with the team. Players for Los Angeles turned their warm-up jerseys inside out Sunday so the Clippers logo would be hidden before their recent playoff game, and they wore armbands as a show of solidarity.
Billups said he would have boycotted the game entirely.
“If that were me, and my teammates could do whatever they wanted to do … I would not have played that game,” Billups said Monday on the Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. “That would have been my personal option. There’s no way I would have played in that game.
“That’s how they wanted to protest, and that’s fine,” Billups added. “I’m happy that they took a stand … I’m proud of them for doing that.”
Billups said his relationship with Sterling while in Los Angeles was one of pleasant small talk and that he did not realize Sterling held the kind of feelings he expressed in the phone conversation now on TMZ and Deadspin.
“My reaction is the same as everybody else’s … just embarrassed … just hurt by his comments,” Billups said. “It’s very, very unfortunate … It just had my stomach in knots.
“Who knows what’s all happened and what’s all gone down,” Billups continued. “Obviously he’s done a fair job of covering up, maybe, what his feelings are.”
Billups said he did not know that Sterling felt such a way about minorities and hinted he would not have played for the Clippers if he had known.
“Maybe that’s my fault for not doing all my due diligence,” Billups said. “It would absolutely change my perception and change my willingness to be a part of his organization if I did know.
“I just don’t think that anybody that believes what he believes should be an owner,” Billups continued. “I don’t think he should be that position. I don’t think he should own a team.”