Originally published at 12:01 p.m. April 28, 2014. Edited to add new details.
The president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP said today the group will return donations Clippers owner Donald Sterling has made to the organization, in light of racist remarks he is alleged to have made in a recorded conversation.
The organization announced over the weekend that it had dropped plans to present Sterling with a "humanitarian of the year" award next week.
At a Culver City news conference, NAACP Los Angeles chapter president Leon Jenkins called the comments attributed to Sterling an "attempt to turn back the clock on race relations."
Jenkins said the organization would be returning donations Sterling has made to the organization. He declined to say how much money would be returned, but he called the amount "insignificant."
Sterling was honored by the NAACP in 2009, but Jenkins said the organization had no plans to take back that award.
"This is not like the Heisman Trophy, dude," Jenkins said. "We gave out an award. He has it. We're not going to renege on it. ... We're not going to ask him return an award that he got years ago."
Ron Hasson, a member of the NAACP national board of directors who also attended the news conference, said if the recording is authenticated, Sterling should be dealt with severely.
"The decision that should be made should be a decision that is certainly punitive enough to demonstrate to him and the world that diversity should be respected, that people of color should not be treated in a substandard way by its ownership and that Donald Sterling should be dealt with severely if in fact the allegations are true," Hasson said.
Jenkins said Sterling has been supportive of the NAACP over the years.
"Mr. Sterling has given a tremendous amount of scholarships," he said. "... He has invited numerous African-American kids to summer camps. His donations to charities probably outnumber any of the other sports entities."
Sterling, however, has run afoul of federal anti-discrimination laws in the past for allegedly singling out blacks and Koreans as non-desirable tenants.
Jenkins said that if Sterling denies making the comments being attributed to him, he needs to "spend a sufficient amount of time ... in the African-American community to prove he is not the person those words portray him to be."
According to Hasson, if the remarks attributed to Sterling are found to be true, fans should turn in their box seats and sponsorships should be pulled.
"Those are the actions that should happen from a perspective of people dealing with racial issues," Hasson said.
He said a slap on the wrist would not be sufficient.
"It has to be severe enough so that he or anyone who puts out those racial statements against people of color, that they should be dealt with appropriately," Hasson said.
--City News Service