The Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has reversed its decision to honor LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime achievement award at its 100th anniversary event on May 15 following a controversial audio recording released suggesting he made racist comments.
“He is not receiving a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP,” Lorraine Miller, NAACP interim vice president, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The NAACP’s national office is also urging the LA branch to withdraw Sterling from its honoree list while the National Basketball Assocation investigates the circumstances.
“We also suggest that African Americans and Latinos should honor his request and not attend the games,” Alice Huffman, President of the NAACP California State Conference said in a public statement.
Racist comments purportedly made by Sterling to his girlfriend have garnered reactions from public figures ranging from the rapper Snoop Dogg to President Barack Obama.
The National Basketball Association is investigating the authenticity of a tape obtained by the website TMZ.com which reportedly records Sterling having a conversation with his girlfriend V. Stiviano in which he makes racist remarks.
In the audio recording released by TMZ.com, the man is heard telling the woman he does not want her to bring black men to Clippers games. He’s also heard demanding she not post photographs of herself with black men on Instagram.
As the conversation continues to unfold, the man expresses displeasure a picture the woman took with NBA icon Magic Johnson.
“Admire him, bring him here, feed him, (expletive) him, I don’t care. You can do anything. But don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games, okay?” the man is heard saying in the audio recording.
President Obama, who is in Malaysia on a diplomatic mission, responded to the recording Sunday.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk. That’s what happened here,” the President said at a press conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Rapper Snoop Dogg, on the other hand, dropped multiple expletives in his Instagram response to the Clippers owner.
“All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during a press conference Saturday night.
Sterling will not appear at the next Los Angeles Clippers playoff game.
Basketball legend and current majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats Michael Jordan said in a statement he was “completely disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such a sickening and offensive views.”
Magic Johnson, who was singled out in the recording as one of the black men that shouldn’t be allowed to attend Clippers games, responded through Twitter.
In a statement to TMZ, Sterling along with the Clippers organization say they are unsure about the legitimacy of the audio released but that the recording does not accurately review Sterling’s “views, beliefs, or feelings.”
“We do know that the woman on the tape—who we believe released it to TMZ Sports—is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family, alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even,’” according to the statement.