At a press conference Monday the NAACP said they were willing to work with Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling despite withdrawing an offer of a lifetime achievement award.
Sterling is embattled in controversy after his girlfriend released audio of a taped conversation the two had where he can be heard making racist statements about black people.
NAACP Los Angeles president Leon Jenkins said that an audio recording that surfaced this weekend on TMZ, which purportedly had Sterling’s voice recorded making racist comments, was “devastating.” But the organization would be open to talking to Sterling, with whom they’ve worked for nearly 20 years.
“God teaches us to forgive, and the way I look at it, after a sustained period of proof to the African American community that those words don’t reflect his heart, I think there’s room for forgiveness. I wouldn’t be a Christian if I said there wasn’t,” Jenkins said.
“We are negotiating with him about giving more moneys to African American students at UCLA, and so we are in preliminary discussions,” Jenkins said. He also noted, however, they had not spoken since the scandal broke.
The news conference was held to reveal the organization’s plan to cancel honoring Sterling with a lifetime achievement award in the wake of the tape. Sterling has donated to the NAACP for years. His acts led to him being selected for the award.
LA Clippers President Andy Roeser said the team did not know if the tape is legitimate or has been altered.
The team released a statement saying, “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.”
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