*Oops. This has got to be embarrassing.
USA Today reports that the Los Angeles chapter of the civil rights group stated via Twitter that Sterling would not receive a life achievement award at a banquet celebrating its 100th anniversary on May 15.
“#DonaldSterling will not be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the LA Branch of the NAACP. #MTP,” the NAACP tweeted Sunday morning.
The organization’s interim president and CEO, Lorraine C. Miller, further put to rest any doubt of the NAACP’s stance on Sterling in a press release as she advised the L.A. chapter to expand it’s opposition by taking back an award previously given to him. Sterling was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. The situation back then mirrors the current controversy as Sterling faced a discrimination lawsuit from former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor.
“Let me make it clear, the NAACP will not be honoring Mr. Sterling at the upcoming Los Angeles branch event and we have strongly urged our Los Angeles unit to take the necessary steps to rescind the previous award they bestowed on him,” Miller stated. “The remarks attributed to Mr. Sterling are outrageous and remind us that racism is alive and well at every socioeconomic level. With the election of President Obama, many were sold the idea that the United States would be instantly transformed into a post racial society and racism would be eviscerated. People who bought that idea were sold wolf tickets.”
News of the NAACP’s change of heart towards Sterling is the latest in a continuing saga involving the controversial sports executive, who allegedly made racist comments to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano. On audio obtained by TMZ, a man (allegedly Sterling) is heard saying “why are you taking pictures with minorities, why?” after seeing a picture Stiviano took with NBA legend Magic Johnson after a recent Clippers game. (Sterling) mentioned that it bothered him that she posted photos of herself with black people on her Instagram account. As a result, (Sterling) told (Stiviano) not to bring Johnson to Clippers games.
In her statement, NAACP’s Miller advised the public, as a nation, to “ask ourselves if we are living up to the obligations of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Constitutional that require equality in opportunity for all people regardless of the color of their skin.”
“If we cannot answer in the affirmative, we must redouble our efforts to ensure this goal is reached,” she said. “If the adage that silence means acceptance, the worst thing our country can do in the face of bigotry is remain quiet. We must stand up, speak out and call attention to a real problem.”
Although Sterling will not be recognized at the banquet, the NAACP plans to acknowledge its remaining honorees, which include the Rev. Al Sharpton and L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti, who will receive a Person of the Year Award.
Echoing Miller’s call to take a stand, NAACP chairman of the board of directors Roslyn M. Brock cited the organization’s commitment to equality while citing the “blatant bigotry” from those currently involved in controversial racial matters.
“The current political climate in our nation has set the stage for the blatant bigotry we are seeing from the likes of public figures like Donald Sterling, Ted Nugent, Cliven Bundy and Phil Robertson,” said Brock. “As Justice Sotomayer acknowledged in her dissent in Schuette v. BAMN, racism cannot be wished away and must be confronted. The NAACP will remain vigilant in pointing out and fighting against racism in all its forms to ensure it does not infect the next generation of Americans.”