Clipped: Is Seth Burton Inspired by a Real Clippers Employee? Where is He Now?

In FX on Hulu’s sports drama series ‘Clipped,’ Seth Burton is the vice president of communications at the Los Angeles Clippers. He deals with the consequences of the scandal that erupts when an audio recording of the team owner, Donald Sterling, gets leaked via his personal assistant, V. Stiviano. When Doc Rivers, the head coach of the Clippers, manages the heat of the scandal for his players, Seth tries his best to extend a helping hand. In reality, the scenario wasn’t drastically different. Seth is not only based on a real person but also someone who took a stand against Sterling when the controversies erupted!

Seth Burton’s Time at the Los Angeles Clippers

Seth Burton became the vice president of communications at the Los Angeles Clippers at the age of thirty-six in September 2013. He replaced Joe Safety, who had twenty years of experience with the basketball team. Seth garnered the position in his eighth season with the Clippers after serving the team as the assistant director and director of communications. As the Clippers’ primary media contact, he had to deal with the heat of Donald Sterling-V. Stiviano scandal immensely. “It was a tough situation and one that couldn’t necessarily be cleaned up,” he told The Guardian. He had to stay up late as the bridge between the sports organization and the press outlets that had been scrutinizing every detail concerning the scandal.

“It was wild how many messages and emails there were – I was staying until two or three in the morning just responding,” Seth added to The Guardian. As the primary press contact, Seth was one of the first individuals to learn about the existence of Sterling’s audio tape. “[TMZ founder] Harvey Levin called me at one point and said, ‘This is really bad.’ He said it was racial, but he wouldn’t get into specifics. Every time they called me and asked me about it, I would go to Andy [Roeser, former team president] and ask him about it. He would tell me they were dealing with it,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Before the tape was released, Seth obtained a copy and listened to the same with Doc Rivers in the hallway of the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. “I just remember Doc looking at me at one point and saying, ‘This is bad,’” he added. When the Sterlings decided to attend the games despite the scandal, it was Seth who had to run around to avoid the predicament. He sought the help of Rivers, who was ready to talk to at least Shelly, Donald’s wife. Along with his employers, Seth, who never defended Sterling, was also subjected to scrutiny, irrespective of whether he deserved the same.

“I remember coming home after [one day] and sitting on my couch, almost in tears. I was like, ‘What the hell have I gotten myself into?’ I remember someone posting a picture of me talking to Chris [Paul] and Blake [Griffin] after practice in San Francisco before they talked to the media, and people were commenting on it, saying I was this white, racist Clippers employee telling our black players what to do and say. It was terrible,” Seth said in the same Los Angeles Times interview.

Seth Burton is at the Los Angeles Football Club Now

The Donald Sterling scandal was nothing short of a series of traumatic incidents for Seth Burton. In 2017, around three years after TMZ released Sterling’s tape, Seth left the Clippers. He joined the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) in the Major League Soccer as the vice president of communications. Currently, he is the senior vice president of communications and content at the soccer club. He has been an integral part of the LAFC’s recent achievements, including the 2022 MLS Cup. He witnessed his club winning the MLS Supporters’ Shield twice in 2019 and 2022, in addition to the 2022 and 2023 Western Conference playoffs.

“From the start, LAFC was laser-focused on building a club that truly represented LA. In everything we did, we wanted to make sure that our fans and supporters were involved and had the opportunity to help grow this Club together,” Seth told Pasadena Weekly about his work at the club. When it comes to his personal life, Seth is highly private, with little to no social media engagements in the last decade. Despite working as the primary media contact for two giant sports organizations, he has rarely sought the limelight. However, his colleagues or well-wishers haven’t forgotten to address the remarkable work he does at the LAFC.

“Congratulations to the entire [LAFC] organization on a Historic [MLS] Cup win. In particular to [Rich Orosco, chief brand officer] & [Seth Burton], with whom I’ve shared this journey from day 1. Who would have thought all those years ago we’d both be Champions at the same time?” Steve Horvat, a soccer player with more than thirty international caps for Australia, shared after the LAFC won the MLS Cup in 2022.

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