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LA NAACP President Resigns over Decision to Honor Donald Sterling

  • VOA News

FILE - This April 28, 2014 photo shows Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, announcing that Los Angeles Clippers basketball team owner Donald Sterling will not receive his lifetime achievement award, at a news conference in Cu

FILE - This April 28, 2014 photo shows Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, announcing that Los Angeles Clippers basketball team owner Donald Sterling will not receive his lifetime achievement award, at a news conference in Cu

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is not the only one whose position has been affected by the leaking of his racist comments.

The president of the Los Angeles chapter of prominent African-American rights group the NAACP has resigned following outrage over the chapter's plans to honor the pro basketball team owner later this month.

Leon Jenkins said he resigned "to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused."

Jenkins had reversed the decision to give Sterling a lifetime achievement award when the audio recording of Sterling's comments demeaning black people went public last weekend. But questions still lingered about the chapter's relationship with Sterling, who had faced allegations of discrimination in the past. The chapter has honored Sterling before and received money from him.

In 2009, Sterling paid a record $2.7 million to settle a federal case claiming he sought to exclude black and Hispanic tenants from his rental properties.

On Tuesday, National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life from all NBA activities and fined him $2.5 million -- the maximum allowed under NBA rules. But to be able to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, 75 percent of the other 29 NBA team owners would have to agree.

The lawyer for the married Sterling's girlfriend, V. Stiviano, whose voice can also be heard in the recording containing his racially-charged comments, says the conversation was taped with his consent.

The attorney said the recording was not leaked by Stiviano, but by an unidentified friend Stiviano had sent the audio to for safekeeping. In it, Sterling can be heard asking his then-girlfriend, who is black and Hispanic herself, not to publicize her associations with black people and not to bring them to his basketball games.

Meanwhile, ESPN and other news outlets are reporting that the 80-year-old Sterling has been battling prostate cancer.

Some 70 percent of the NBA's players are black, and nearly 100 players are from other countries.
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