NAACP Under Heat For Taking Sterling Donations Despite His Racist History
The NAACP L.A. chapter is facing some major scrutiny about accepting donations from Donald Sterling and even offering him a humanitarian award despite his history of racial discrimination. At a press conference on Monday, NAACP L.A. chapter president Leon Jenkins said that the group would no longer be honoring Sterling with a lifetime achievement award in May and that they would be returning Sterling's donations to the group (though they wouldn't say how much that would be). This comes on the heels of a leaked audio recording revealing the Clippers owner's racist rant against black people. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed today that the recording was of Sterling's voice and that he would be banning Sterling from the NBA for life effective immediately.
This would have been Sterling's second lifetime achievement award. The group was planning on bestowing him this award on May 15 at the NAACP's 100th anniversary gala. They first gave him the award back in 2009 while he was in the midst of settling a federal lawsuit over housing discrimination, according to KPCC. He was accused of refusing to rent out his Koreatown residential properties to blacks and Latinos, and he eventually paid a $2.7 million settlement in the case. At the time of that first award, former Clippers General Manager Elgin Baylor had also filed a lawsuit against Sterling for age and racial discrimination (Baylor later dropped the racial accusations from the lawsuit in 2011.)
Jon Stewart took a jab at the the NAACP on last night's The Daily Show: "Take that, Sterling! Because of your unrepentant racism, you only get one lifetime NAACP lifetime achievement award!"
It looked like Sterling was offering the local NAACP chapter donations to repair his PR image. He put ads in newspapers, talking about the charity work he was doing for poor communities, according to the L.A. Times. Leo Terrell, a civil rights attorney and radio talk show host, said on Good Day LA, "[Sterling] bought coverage from the oldest civil rights group organization."
The NAACP didn't want to turn away money because of "rumors," but now their tune has changed. Jenkins said, "There is a personal, economic, and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn the clock back on race relations. If these statements are not who Mr. Sterling is, then he should spend a sufficient amount of time necessary in the African-American community to prove that he is not the person those words portray him to be or suggest he may be."