L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, allegedly caught on an audio recording making repeated racist remarks, is scheduled to receive an NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award next month from the organization's Los Angeles chapter, Deadspin reported.
It's not the first time the NBA owner is being recognized by the NAACP, even amid racism controversy. In 2009, the NAACP gave Sterling a Lifetime Achievement Award despite being accused of racism and embracing a "vision of a Southern plantation-type structure" in a lawsuit filed by former NBA great Elgin Baylor just three months before the ceremony, the Los Angeles Times said.
In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, center, and V. Stiviano, right, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Los Angeles. (Image source: AP/Mark J. Terrill)
But Alice Huffman, president of the NAACP's California State Conference, has had enough: "As the investigation is in progress, we urge the LA Branch of the NAACP to withdraw Donald Sterling from the honoree list at its upcoming Gala."
And in light of Sterling's alleged wish that his girlfriend not "bring (black people) to my games," Huffman added, "We also suggest that African Americans and Latinos should honor his request and not attend the games."
Huffman's complete statement:
“If these allegations are proven true, we are extremely disappointed in Mr. Sterling. Recent remarks like these, and those of Cliven Bundy, remind us that racism is not a footnote of our past, but a reality of our present that we must confront head on.”
“For 105 years, the NAACP has fought against the culture bigotry that leads to the comments like those we heard on the recording, and as public response to these remarks has shown, we have made significant progress.
“As the investigation is in progress, we urge the LA Branch of the NAACP to withdraw Donald Sterling from the honoree list at its upcoming Gala. We also suggest that African Americans and Latinos should honor his request and not attend the games.
“If true, these are very hurtful remarks and Mr. Sterling, whose team talents and fan base is majority minority, should offer an apology to Californians.
“At the conclusion of the investigation into the alleged comments, if true, we seek further redress from Mr. Sterling.”
LeBron James called the recorded comments “appalling” and said he’s not sure if he would suit up for the remainder of the NBA playoffs if he played for the Clippers. Other figures, including Rev. Al Sharpton and former NBA star Magic Johnson, are similarly outraged.