Plenty of people were surprised when Donald Sterling's racist voicemails became public. One of them wasn't Clippers big man Blake Griffin.
Griffin told GQ in a recent interview for the October edition of the that, once he found out he would be drafted by the Clippers, he started looking into the team.
“I went to Google to find out more about the Clippers, because I didn't know a lot,” Griffin told GQ. “And I was like, "Okay, team owned by Donald Sterling." So then I typed in "Donald Sterling" in Google, and the first thing that pops up is "Donald Sterling racist." And I was like, "Whoa!" So obviously I explored that, read a whole bunch of articles, read the deposition at one of his court cases. Which was awesome, if you ever have time to read some of the depositions. [laughs]”
Did it bother him?
So, the team's star knew about his owner's reputation, which would eventually be his undoing. But, did it bother Griffin or was it something that didn't impact him?
“I mean, what was I gonna do? And for five years with the team, it was fine,” Griffin told the magazine. “Nothing came out. Nothing happened. I never really saw him that much. I saw him right when I first got drafted. I had to go to a couple of events that he does, which was awful.
“He throws a white party in Malibu every single year, so everyone has to wear white or you can't come. I get there, and this dude is wearing all black. The only person at this party. He throws a white party, he wears all black. And as soon as I get there, he comes to the front, we talk for a second, and he's like, 'Come on, I want to introduce you to everyone.' Grabs my hand and starts walking me through the party while we're holding hands, and just introduces me to everybody.”
So, Sterling is awkward at parties and he likes to lead players around.
Sterling was also apparently awkward in the locker room after games, bringing in his girlfriends and leading awkward “hip hip hooray” chants while holding players' arms in the air.
So what about the tapes?
Griffin told GQ that the team was made aware the tapes were coming out the day before it broke and they thought nothing of it. Then, that day, his phone was bombarded with text messages to the point he had to turn it off.
He did search for and listen to the tapes.
“Like I said, the first thing I ever Googled about the man, the first thing that popped up was 'racist,'” Griffin said. “So I was aware. I hate to say this, and it might sound ignorant, but I wasn't surprised that all this came up. Not necessarily the manner in which it was said, or the exact things, but like I said: This was my first impression of him.
“It wasn't fun at all. It was shocking. I was lying there in bed and just listening to it, like, "Wow." And even after I listened to it, I didn't realize how big it was gonna become.”