The Los Angeles branch of the NAACP said Sunday it will no longer be giving a lifetime achievement award to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Sterling, who has a long history of questionable behavior and comments, was among a list of honorees at the L.A. NAACP branch's upcoming gala until an audio recording obtained by TMZ alleges that Sterling made racist comments to a girlfriend, including urging her not to bring black friends to Clippers games.
The NBA and the Clippers are investigating, including whether the male voice on the recording is in fact Sterling's.
An audio recording obtained by TMZ alleges that Sterling made racist comments to a girlfriend. In the recording attributed to Sterling and posted on TMZ's website, a male voice questions his girlfriend's association with minorities. TMZ reported the woman, V. Stiviano, is of black and Mexican descent.
The man asks Stiviano not to broadcast her association with black people or bring black people to games. The man specifically mentions Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson on the recording, saying, Don't bring him to my games, OK?
The California statewide chapter of the NAACP released a statement saying they suggest that African Americans and Latinos should honor his request and not attend the games.
CBSSports.com reports that an even longer version of the recording has more offensive comments.
Clippers players and coaches, who are locked in a tough playoff matchup against the Golden State Warriors, have largely stayed silent about the issue, but everyone from President Obama to NBA legend and team owner Michael Jordan have weighed in.
Jordan said he's both disgusted and outraged by the racist comments allegedly made by Sterling.
Jordan, now the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, released a statement Sunday addressing the matter. He said that as an owner, I'm completely disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views.
As a former player, Jordan says I'm completely outraged.
Jordan said he is confident that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will investigate the matter fully and take appropriate action quickly.
There is no room in the NBA - or anywhere else - for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed, Jordan said. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.
Earlier Sunday, President Barack Obama described the alleged comments as incredibly offensive racist statements, before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must vigilantly fight.
When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk, Obama said when asked to respond to Sterling's reported comments.
Obama's description of the controversy as part of a larger historical context is the latest example of his continuing willingness to expound on matters of race in his second term.
After avoiding much mention of race relations during his campaign to become the first black president and in his first term, the president last summer offered a personal reflection in response to the shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin. Obama's remarks on Donald Sterling were a rare continuation of that.
On CBS' Face the Nation Sunday, Obama got rare support from Sen. Bob Corker, R.-Tenn., on the issue.
It's just outrageous in 2014 that comments like these are being made, Corker said. So I thought the president's response was appropriate. It's beyond belief.
Appearing on the same program, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D.-Mo., said that while Sterling had a right to say whatever he wants, I hope the N.B.A. takes swift action against this man. I can't imagine how it must feel to be one of the African Americans playing on his team, how they must feel today, knowing that the owner of the team is obviously such an ignorant racist.
Magic Johnson wants NBA Commissioner Silver to come down hard on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Johnson has said he would not attend Clippers games as long as Sterling owns the team. He also says the Clippers should be focused on their playoff series with Golden State and not the latest scandal involving their owner.
Johnson spoke on ABC's playoff pregame show Sunday.
Miami Heat star LeBron James asked new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to take aggressive measures, saying there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league.
Obviously, if the reports are true it's unacceptable in our league, James said. It doesn't matter, white, black or Hispanic - all across the races it's unacceptable. As the commissioner of our league they have to make a stand. They have to be very aggressive with it. I don't know what it will be, but we can't have that in our league.
Obama said he's confident NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will address the matter. He said the NBA has an awful lot of African American players, it's steeped in African American culture. And I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this.
Silver had said the NBA needs to confirm authenticity of the audio tape and interview both Sterling and the woman in the recording. He called the tape disturbing and offensive and promised to investigate quickly.