- The Washington Times - Friday, May 2, 2014

Leon Jenkins resigned his position from head of the NAACP’s Los Angeles chapter, over the massive criticism that erupted after it was learned the civil rights group was poised to give L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling a lifetime achievement award.

NBA commissioner banned Mr. Sterling from life for the NBA and issued him a fine of $2.5 million for racist comments he made to his mistress on the telephone. He told her not to bring blacks to the games and not to post photos of blacks on her Instagram account.

The NAACP rescinded its award offering right after Mr. Sterling’s racist comments, but it was too late, CNN reported. The backlash the group suffered for even suggesting that the L.A. Clippers’ owner was worthy of the recognition was too great for Mr. Jenkins to take.

“Please be advised that the legacy, history and reputation of the NAACP is more important to me than the presidency,” Mr. Jenkins said while announcing his resignation, CNN reported. He said he wanted to step aside from the “negative exposure I have caused.”

The lifetime achievement award is the highest honor the NAACP gives.

Mr. Sterling had already received one from the L.A. chapter in 2009 — and he was about to get another, when his racist comments were captured on audio and broadcast.

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Part of the reason for the award: Mr. Sterling had donated an estimated $45,000 to the NAACP in recent years, CNN reported.

This is just the latest fallout from Mr. Sterling’s comments. He was just banned for life from the NBA; several Clippers’ corporate sponsors, meanwhile, have fled.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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