A top civil rights organization formally rescinded a lifetime achievement award due to be given to Los Angles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Monday, as outrage over his alleged racist comments continued to build.
Leon Jenkins, the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, said the organization would also return donations from Sterling, and that it’s up to the NBA owner to demonstrate the words attributed to him “don’t really reflect his heart.”
“There is a personal and economic price that Mr. Sterling must pay,” Jenkins said at a news conference.
The civil rights group’s move followed Saturday’s publication by TMZ of an audio recording that purportedly depicts Sterling criticizing his girlfriend for publicly associating with African-Americans, including NBA legend Magic Johnson. Johnson, NBA Heat star LeBron James, Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and even President Barack Obama have condemned the comments.
Sterling has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the audio, but the team said in a statement that he’s “emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings.”
Sponsors began distancing themselves from the team on Monday. The NBA is investigating and is set to make an announcement Tuesday.