By Lela Olds
5:46 PM CDT, April 28, 2014
Unless TV cameras, microphones and a permanent spotlight are part of your job, it's hard to know what the L.A. Clippers players are experiencing.
After racially insensitive comments allegedly made by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling surfaced this weekend, everyone wanted to see how the team would respond during its playoff game Sunday.
Many social media pundits vowed never to watch another Clippers game and insisted the players should sit out the contest. And while I admit I shared this opinion at first, I eventually realized how crazy I was to think such a thing.
The players have worked all their lives to fulfill their dreams of playing in the NBA and ultimately winning a championship. They play hard every game not only for themselves and their families but also for the fans and the city of Los Angeles—not Donald Sterling.
So after careful consideration, the players decided to continue working toward their goal of a title and making the city proud.
While doing so, the league can do its job and hand down the strictest punishment possible to Sterling, if the comments were his. In an act of solidarity before Sunday's game, the players warmed up with their gear inside out and wore black socks and arm bands. As star guard Chris Paul told ABC: "Our message—it sounds simple—it's stay together, play ball."
But that wasn't enough for the naysayers. The keyboard gangsters rushed to proclaim the players were crazy for showing up and called their silent protest "weak."
Give me a break and riddle me this: How often do you walk off your job immediately due to horrible treatment? Probably never. You take it to the head of the company and let him or her deal with the issue.
THEN, if nothing happens, you make changes. That's what the players are doing. They're putting their trust in the league while they continue to do their jobs as best they can.
Stop judging and try to imagine being in their shoes—while your every move is watched.
Lela Olds is a RedEye special contributor.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC