Update — April 27, 2 p.m. ET: Donald Sterling will no longer be given the award, the organization’s official account tweeted.
“He is not receiving a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP,” Lorraine Miller, the organization’s interim vice president, said on Meet The Press this morning.
Miller’s comment came after she condemned the owner’s alleged remarks, saying, “If you’re silent about this, then you’re accepting this, and people have got to say that this is not good and do something about it.”
California NAACP President Alice Huffman Saturday called on the group’s Los Angeles chapter to cancel a “lifetime achievement award” for Clippers owner Donald Sterling at a ceremony in Los Angeles next month, after Sterling was allegedly recorded making racist comments.
“There’s a cloud over him right now,” she told BuzzFeed. “I think it would be wise if the branch withdrew it’s honoring him and I have made that request, but have not got a response.”
TMZ Saturday published a recording it said was Sterling berating his much younger girlfriend for “associating with black people.” The recording appears to be the latest in a string of racist remarks attributed to Sterling, who did not confirm the authenticity of the recording in a statement, but who “feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.”
Huffman, the California NAACP president, said she reached out to branch president Leon Jenkins, but has not yet heard back from him; he also didn’t respond to a call and email from BuzzFeed. Multiple requests for comment from the main NAACP branch have also not been returned.
Although she said she didn’t want to “pre-condemn” Sterling before the audio was confirmed to be him, Huffman said his alleged comments were “very hurtful.”
“There’s no place for them in America today,” she said, “and especially in the line of work he’s in where he relies on so much minority talent and so many minority fans.”
Rev. Al Sharpton, who is also being honored at the banquet, told BuzzFeed he hopes the branch honors Huffman’s request, and also joins him in pushing for his removal as the team owner.
“I hope [the NAACP] join me in calling for the NBA to remove him as a sanctioned owner, or a certified owner with NBA status,” he said. “And I hope the NAACP decides to join me as I’m talking to others in the civil rights community.”
Huffman said there has been previous controversy when the Los Angeles branch honored Sterling with the same award in 2009, with branch president Jenkins once saying, “We can’t speak to the allegations, but what we do know is that for the most part [Sterling] has been very, very kind to the minority youth community.”
But Huffman questioned whether the award had more to do with how much financial support Sterling gives to the chapter.
“I think you’ll find a deeper relationship there than just a good guy with a team,” Huffman said.
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