Jane Yamamoto, Hernan Vasquez
The interim president of the NAACP said during NBCs "Meet the Press" that embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling would not be honored at an awards gala in Los Angeles next month. Jane Yamamoto reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 on Sunday, April 27, 2014.
The interim president of the NAACP said during NBC’s "Meet the Press" on Sunday that embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling would not be honored at an awards gala in Los Angeles next month.
Sterling, who allegedly told his girlfriend that he didn’t want her to “broadcast” that she associates with African-Americans, was set to be awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP on May 15.
Lorraine Miller, the interim president of the NAACP, said Sunday that he would not be receiving the honor.
“He is not receiving a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP that is coming up in the next few weeks," Miller said.
Miller also called for a previous award given to Sterling to be rescinded in a statement released Sunday.
"The remarks attributed to Mr. Sterling are outrageous and remind us that racism is alive and well at every socioeconomic level. With the election of President Obama, many were sold the idea that the United States would be instantly transformed into a post racial society and racism would be eviscerated. People who bought that idea were sold wolf tickets," she said.
"As a nation, we must ask ourselves if we are living up to the obligations of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Constitutional that require equality in opportunity for all people regardless of the color of their skin. If we cannot answer in the affirmative, we must redouble our efforts to ensure this goal is reached," Miller added.
In audio-tapes obtained by TMZ, a man who TMZ identifies as Sterling tells his girlfriend that he doesn’t want her to be seen in public with African-Americans. NBC News has not been able to authenticate the audio-tapes.
"We have to stand up and let it be known that we're not going to tolerate this," said Paulette Gipson, the president of the Compton Branch of the NAACP. "Somebody paid the price so that we can even play basketball. Some people died so we could have a right that he's now trying to take from us. To him it's like a laughing joke. It's not funny, and it's no joke."
The comments in the recording were made after Sterling’s girlfriend posted a photo with Magic Johnson on her Instagram account, TMZ reported.
“Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” the man says in the recording.
“You can do anything, but don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see,” he adds. “And don’t bring him to my games.”
On Sunday morning, Deadspin released an extended version of the conversation they claim is between Sterling and his girlfriend. NBC News has not been able to authenticate the audio-tapes.
Miller’s comments on "Meet the Press" come after a flurry of responses to the allegations, including statements by politicians and NBA officials.
"The owner is reported to have said some incredibly offensive, racist statements that were published,” President Barack Obama told a group of people during a news conference in Malaysia. “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything. You just let them talk, and that’s what happened here."
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released a statement condemning the comments attributed to the Clippers' owner.
"These statements are offensive and despicable and have no place in Los Angeles," Garcetti said. "I urge the NBA to act swiftly. L.A. fans deserve and demand better."
Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price said in a statement Saturday that business owners should be held accountable by the same standards as athletes and elected officials.
"It is incredibly disappointing to see someone who is leading a nationally recognized brand, express this kind of ignorance and hatred. Unfortunately this is another example of why we must continue to fight racism everywhere," Price said.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he hopes to have an investigation into the allegations wrapped up in the next few days.
"The audio recording posted by TMZ is truly offensive and disturbing and we intend to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible," Silver said.
Clippers president Andy Roeser released a statement Saturday that suggested that the woman who is believed to have released the tapes to TMZ is currently involved in a lawsuit with Sterling.
"We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered. We do know that the woman on the tape -- who we believe released it to TMZ -- is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would 'get even,'" Roeser said.
The woman, V. Stiviano, is challenging the case. Nehoray Legal Group, who represents Stiviano in the case, said in a news release Sunday that the audio-tapes are legitimate and are part of a longer recording about one hour in length.
Stiviano’s attorney denied that his client leaked the recording to media.
“Ms. Stiviano did not release the tape(s) to any news media,” attorney Mac E. Nehoray said in the statement. "Due to the present litigation and its absurd allegations, which Ms. Stiviano vehemently denies, Ms. Stiviano and this office have no comments at this time."
Roeser added in his statement that Sterling was hurt by the allegations made against him.
"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. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him--both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter," he said.