Why in the World Was the Los Angeles NAACP Going to Give L.A. Clippers Owner Don Sterling a “Lifetime Achievement” Award?

April 27, 2014 at 6:15 PM Leave a comment

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I would love to be in on the phone calls between members of the board of directors of the L.A. branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People so I could hear what they’re saying about why in the hell they were going to give racist bigot Don Sterling, the owner of the L.A. Clippers, a “lifetime achievement” award at a gala dinner on May 15 celebrating their 100th anniversary.

The guy has a long history of really repugnant stuff and for the life of me I have no idea why Sterling was ever, ever, considered for such an award.  It boggles my mind.

I mean, look:

Housing discrimination

In 2004, Sterling was sued by the Los Angeles Housing Rights Center for discriminatory rental practices. After buying the Ardmore Apartments complex, he attempted to force out minority tenants by refusing to do repairs and refusing rent checks, then accusing them of nonpayment. When told that a 66-year-old, legally blind, partially paralyzed tenant named Kandynce Jones wanted to be reimbursed for the damage to her flooded apartment, he reportedly said, “Just evict the bitch.”

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Plaintiffs in the case won $4.9 million in damages.

In 2006, Sterling was sued by the Department of Justice after he allegedly refused to rent to Mexican-Americans and African-Americans in his apartment complexes, reportedly saying that “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.” Sterling paid $2.73 million to settle the suit.

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Employment discrimination

In 2009, former Clippers general manager and Hall of Fame player Elgin Baylor sued Sterling for wrongful termination on the basis of age and race. Baylor alleged that for years before his 2008 resignation, Sterling had frozen his salary at $350,000 per year for racial reasons (compared to $5.5 million per year for Mike Dunleavy, the white head coach).

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A suit was filed, Baylor dropped some of the charges and in the end, the jury ruled in favor or Sterling.

Sexual harassment

Sterling is known for hiring dozens of female hostesses for his parties and charity events, reaching them through full-page newspaper advertisements…

In a 1996 suit, Christine Jaksy alleged that he touched her inappropriately and demanded that she visit friends of his to provide sexual favors.

In 2003, Sterling himself sued a former employee and mistress named Alexandra Castro over the possession of a Beverly Hills house. The pair reached a confidential settlement, but Sterling’s comments under oath as part of the deposition are worth noting: among other things, he explained that “When you pay a woman for sex, you are not together with her…you’re paying her for a few moments to use her body for sex. Is it clear?”

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Now granted, Sterling is going to be suit-bait because he’s a billionaire but going back to the first category — housing discrimination — a jury awarded the Plaintiffs $4.9 million.  That alone should have been enough for the NAACP to say what the hell?, no we are not going to give Don Sterling a “lifetime achievement” award at our centennial anniversary gala.

Not only that but judging from interviews I’ve seen and articles I’ve read on this in the last 24 hours, Sterling’s racist and sexist views were well known in the basketball community and in the Los Angeles community.  Again, what was the L.A. branch of the NAACP thinking?

I would love to know what went on behind the scenes there.  In my opinion, that mystery is more compelling than Don Sterling being a hateful old billionaire having the misfortune of being caught on tape proving it.

 

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Entry filed under: Musings.

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