Talk about awkward timing. Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who came under fire this weekend after a tape of him on a racist rant, was leaked to TMZ, is scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP on May 15 at the Los Angeles chapter's 100th anniversary banquet.
Sterling is scheduled to be honored alongside L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti, who is on deck for a Person of the Year Award, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton. But Yusef Robb, a spokesman for Garcetti, told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, “In light of recent events, we will be discussing the event with the Los Angeles NAACP.”
The list of honorees on the chapter's website still included Sterling as of late Saturday night.
The NBA announced Saturday it was investigating the explosive audio obtained by TMZ to determine if the racist comments were indeed from Sterling. The tape has a man, allegedly Sterling, telling his girlfriend, “Why are you taking pictures with minorities, why?” and telling her not to bring NBA legend Magic Johnson to Clippers games or pose with him for photos. The man also says it bothers him that she posts photos of herself with Black people on her Instagram account.
In a statement, Clippers president Andy Roeser said of the recording that the organization, including Mr. Sterling, has heard the tape but does “not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered."
The statement continues, "Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect, his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life.”
Sterling also claims the leaked audio is a part of an extortion plot from his girlfriend, who he claims leaked the audio, and whom he accuses of embezzling $1.8 million from the Clippers organization. Sterling claims the young woman vowed to "get even" after he filed a lawsuit against her.
The incident is surely a distraction for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers team, who are competing against the Golden State Warriors in NBA playoffs.
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(Photo: Kirby Lee/WireImage)