Occidental College professor Peter Dreier asks, aptly, why was the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP planning to give Donald Sterling its Lifetime Achievement Award on May 15? Eww. From Dreier's post tonight at LA Progressive.com:
In an excruciating example of bad timing, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP was scheduled to bestow its Lifetime Achievement Award to Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, at its May 15 banquet....
Embarrassed by the controversy, the NAACP announced Sunday morning, via Twitter, that is was withdrawing the award, which was to be presented at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles as part of the celebration of the chapter’s 100th anniversary. The NAACP also plans to honor Rev. Al Sharpton and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — as well as Walmart’s local charity and political operative and a top Fed Ex executive – at the gala event.
Yes, there’s no way that the NAACP could have known that Sterling would be caught making those comments. But there’s also no way that the NAACP could not have known that Sterling has a long history of racist comments and racial discrimination in his rental properties.
Indeed, the NAACP seems to suffer from amnesia. Almost exactly five years ago, a similar controversy arose when the civil rights group honored Sterling with the same award! At the time, Elgin Baylor, who served as the Clippers general manager from 1986 to 2008, had just filed an age and racial discrimination suit against Sterling. According to Baylor, Sterling had a “Southern plantation” view, preferring to field a team of “poor black boys from the South … playing for a white coach.”
The California Friends of the African American Caucus announced it will hold a Monday morning press conference to call on the NAACP branch to to give back all funds the chapter, or president Leon Jenkins, have received from Sterling and to disclose if Sterling is helping to keep the branch office open.