The National Association For The Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has announced via Twitter that the organization will not be awarding embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Los Angeles branch had previously planned to award Sterling with the award next month, but has withdrawn the award in light of a leaked phone call allegedly between Sterling and his mixed-race girlfriend in which he makes a number of racially insensitive comments.
— NAACP (@NAACP) April 27, 2014
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Alice Huffman, president of the NAACP California State Conference released an official statement yesterday highlighting the prevalence of bigotry today and asking for minorities to “honor [Sterling’s] request and not attend the games,” referring to Sterling’s comments to his girlfriend that she not bring black or Latino people to Clippers 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,” said Huffman, “At the conclusion of the investigation into the alleged comments, if true, we seek further redress from Mr. Sterling.”
The NAACP has honored Sterling in the past for his "unique history of giving to the children of L.A." despite Sterling's history of racially charged comments. NAACP interim President Lorraine Miller appeared on Meet The Press this morning to weigh in on Sterling's comments. She criticized Sterling and characterized his comments as indicative of a larger problem with bigotry the country is still dealing with.
President Obama echoed that sentiment, calling the comments an example of how the U.S. "continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation," and that "we've made enormous strides, but you're going to continue to see this percolate up every so often."
NBA spokesman Mike Bass called the remarks “disturbing and offensive” and said the league would fully investigate the tape. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league would tackle the situation with a fair investigation.
"All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy," Silver said. "The core of the investigation is understanding whether the tape is authentic, interviewing Mr. Sterling and interviewing the woman as well and understanding the context in which it was recorded."
Silver added that he would not attend the Clippers’ playoff game Sunday against the Golden State Warriors.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said of the playoffs: "This is a situation where we're trying to go after something very important for us, something we've all dreamed about all our childhoods, and Donald (Sterling) or anyone else has nothing to do with that dream and we're not going to let anything get in the way of those dreams."