The President of the Los Angeles branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People has resigned.
“Please be advised that the legacy, history and reputation of the NAACP is more important to me than the presidency,” Leon Jenkins said in a statement. “In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused … I respectfully resign my position as President of the Los Angeles NAACP.”
Jenkins’ leadership had come under increased scrutiny after a tape leaked of Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks, just weeks before he was to be awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP. In the ensuing controversy, the group released a statement saying it would withdraw the honour.
Many viewed the award as being given due only to Sterling’s charitable donations to the branch.
“It’s an insignificant amount of money, and we’re going to return it,” Jenkins said last week in a press conference, adding that the NAACP and Sterling have had a relationship for “maybe 15-20 years.”
He went on to defend Sterling’s record on minorities, but called his recent remarks “devastating,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
It wasn’t the first time Sterling had said something awful. There’s actually a fairly long list.
Jenkins had spearheaded the effort to award Sterling again, having given him a similar award in 2009, The New York Times reported.
The national office of the NAACP said it would develop guidelines for its branches to help them in their award selection process.
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