PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — Doc Rivers ended the LA Clippers‘ practice Tuesday by encouraging his players to go register to vote.
The Clippers were holding an employee outing outside the team’s practice facility with food trucks and even a table where players and employees could register to vote with “I am a voter,” a public awareness campaign.
As the team huddled inside their gym at the end of practice, Rivers encouraged his players to vote and think about events going on in the world.
“I call it a duty,” Rivers said. “I’m an older gentleman, and I think it is my duty to talk to them about current events. … I just want them to think about things instead of reacting.
“I think that society, in my opinion, will react to whatever everybody’s mad about instead of actually giving it some thoughtfulness. I try to get them to see outside of what we do. We [in professional sports] live in a very make-believe world. I think it’s important.”
Guard Landry Shamet said he planned to go register to vote after he was done talking to reporters and noted how Rivers openly discusses world or societal issues that other coaches might shy away from.
Power forward Montrezl Harrell said he is already a registered voter.
“I really don’t get into politics that much,” said Harrell, who noted he most concerned about issues such as equal rights. “I registered to vote and I have voted. This past election I didn’t vote when Trump was up for it. I got to see who is running against Trump and look into their background … and kind of make my decision off of that.”
Rivers said “maybe two, maybe three” Clippers players voted during the last election. He recalled how one player who had never voted, registered, voted and wore his voter sticker throughout practice that day.
“Hopefully, we have 10 [or] 11 stickers this [time],” Rivers said.
Rivers called the right to vote “personal” for him as an African American man.
“I am not telling anyone who to vote for, I’m telling you to go vote,” Rivers said. “And I think our young people don’t understand how hard we had to fight to have the right to vote or not vote. So we have to do better. Like we all complain, but then we don’t vote. It’s very personal for me.”