Local News

Tuesday, Apr 29 2014 11:43 AM

'First Look': CSUB basketball coach Barnes shares thoughts on Clippers scandal

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    Cal State Bakersfield men's basketball coach Rod Barnes, left, discuses the controversy surrounding the NBA following the racially-charged comments of the LA Clippers owner with The Californian's president and CEO, Richard Beene, on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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    "First Look with Scott Cox" host Scott Cox, left, talks to Cal State Bakersfield men's basketball coach Rod Barnes, center and Californian President and CEO Richard Beene about the controversy in the NBA.

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By LAURA LIERA, Californian staff writer lliera@bakersfield.com

For Cal State Bakersfield men's basketball coach Rod Barnes, the recent racist remarks scandal that shadows the LA Clippers came as no surprise.

What is surprising, Barnes said, is that the media got ahold of a recording where Donald Sterling, the Clippers' owner, questions his girlfriend for "bringing African-American people to the games."

"It's been documented that he's shown signs of racism in the past," Barnes said Tuesday on "First Look with Scott Cox." "Several players knew it but now he's been caught."

Barnes talked on the simulcast Tuesday morning before the NBA imposed a lifetime ban on Sterling.

Now that the tapes have been exposed, the person who has to keep the team afloat mentally is Clippers coach Doc Rivers, Barnes said.

In a recent interview, Rivers said he advised his players to follow thier hearts through this scandal. And the Clippers did just that. At the start of the Sunday NBA play-off game, team members wore their warm-up jerseys inside out and threw them into a pile on the court.

"I thought it was a good thing for the guys to do that because it expressed something," Barnes said. "It made a statement that they aren't happy or pleased and it was a way of showing their unity."

Californian President and CEO Richard Beene said he had read about team meetings Rivers has with players about the use of the 'N' word and how to not throw it around like it's any word.

Barnes said he too reminds his athletes to not use hurtful words directed at particular races or women. The conversations are ongoing.

With students of so many different ethnicities, religions and upbringings on campus, it's important for student athletes to respect each other to avoid offending someone.

"You want to build trust, teamwork and unity," Barnes said.

With each new group of basketball players recruited from across the country, Barnes said, the first team meeting of the season is about establishing the rules and reminding each player who they represent.

"We represent ourselves, our families, the university and the city," he said.

The one positive outcome of the scandal, Barnes said, is the conversation about racism in the United States is out in the open.

This will allow the NBA and the world to be educated on the issue, because racism still exists in 2014, the coach said.

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