Los Angeles • The NAACP has decided not to honor Donald Sterling with a lifetime achievement award from its Los Angeles chapter after the Clippers owner allegedly made racially charged comments in a recorded conversation.
Donations made by Sterling, who has owned the team since 1981, will be returned, Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles NAACP, said at a news conference Monday. Jenkins wouldn’t say how much money was involved.
"There is a personal, economic, and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn back the clock on race relations," he said.
Sterling, 80, had been slated to receive the honor on May 15 as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the Los Angeles branch of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
Sterling’s purported comments urging a woman to not bring black people to his team’s games have overshadowed the NBA’s opening playoff round and prompted an NBA investigation. The NBA is planning a Tuesday news conference to discuss the probe.
There still has been no official confirmation that Sterling is on the recording, portions of which were released over the weekend by TMZ and Deadspin.
Jenkins was asked how detrimental he considered Sterling’s alleged remarks.
"On a scale of one to ten? Eleven," he said. "It goes back to a segregation system and a time that nobody in America is proud of."
Sterling was chosen to receive the award because of his long history of donating to minority charities and giving game tickets to inner city children, Jenkins said. The NAACP has honored Sterling several times in the past.
Associated Press writer Christopher Weber contributed to this report.
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