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NAACP cancels plans to honor Donald Sterling amid racism controversy

Team owner Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers watches the San Antonio Spurs play against the Memphis Grizzlies during Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 19, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.
Team owner Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers watches the San Antonio Spurs play against the Memphis Grizzlies during Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 19, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.
Photo by Ronald Martinez

Donald Sterling was going to be an NAACP honoree this year but those plans have changed. The organization has announced they will no longer be presenting an award to Sterling since the racist recording surfaced. According to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP was planning to honor the Clippers owner on May 15.

Lorraine Miller, the interim vice president of the NAACP told "Meet the Press" that Donald Sterling was no longer being honored at the event. The decision to cancel his award is entirely due to the shocking racist recording of a phone conversation allegedly between Sterling and his girlfriend V. Stiviano.

The website for the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People still lists Donald Sterling as an honoree at their banquet. Other honorees include Rev. Al Sharpton and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Sterling was slated to receive the lifetime achievement award.

A similar situation occurred in 2009 when he was given the same honor by the NAACP. The ceremony went on despite the racial discrimination lawsuit brought forth by Elgin Baylor. He alleged that Sterling told him he was putting together a team of "poor black boys" to be coached by a white coach. The lawsuit, which was thrown out, also said that then coach Michael Dunleavy was paid $22 million over four years while Baylor's annual salary was frozen at $350,000 per year.

That same suit points the finger at Sterling again when Danny Manning's contract was being negotiated. According to the story, Sterling wanted to pay Manning much less than he thought he was worth. Sterling allegedly said "I'm offering a lot of money for a poor black kid." It is a relief to many that Donald Sterling will not be honored twice by the NAACP.

Donald Sterling's racism has been well known in the sports world but what could be done about it? There were lawsuits here and there and although the housing discrimination did stick (and cost him millions) the NBA did nothing about his status as a team owner. Even now, there is no precedent for removing the owner of a team. All reports are calling for a suspension and a fine.