The NAACP continues to deal with fallout from the racist comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whom the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP had planned to honor with a second lifetime achievement award on May 15.
The award was later rescinded, and Los Angeles branch president Leon Jenkins resigned on May 1. NAACP interim president and CEO Lorraine C. Miller drafted a statement to supporters Friday morning, which pledged a “review” of the branch in question, as well as efforts to return any donations Sterling had made to the civil rights org.
“Last night, I accepted Leon Jenkins’ resignation,” Miller wrote, calling Sterling’s planned honor “inexcusable.”
“This was the first of many steps we as an organization are taking to address this issue. The NAACP remains actively engaged in a review of the Los Angeles branch. We will determine the shortcomings that enabled Donald Sterling to receive or be considered for any awards. We will prevent this from happening again.”
Additionally, though Miller acknowledged that the need for donations can be pressing, she wrote that “we must not allow that need to compromise our founding principles. We must determine what Donald Sterling donated to the NAACP Los Angeles branch — in order for it to be returned.”
Miller also commended NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to ban Sterling for life.
Sterling had received his first award from the org’s L.A. branch in 2009, the same year he agreed to pay a $2.7 million fine, as well as significant legal fees, to settle a housing discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, which alleged that Sterling had refused to rent to Hispanics and African-Americans in several of his apartment buildings.