Ricky Ricardo would tell the NAACP-Los Angeles that they have a “little esplainin to do”

We hear that the NAACP in LA had a rather substantial relationship with Mr Sterling, the man who allegedly said some very nasty and racist things on tape.

The relationship is a bit strange given Mr Sterling’s past, as we read at TPM:

“For years, the NAACP’s Los Angeles chapter maintained a mutually beneficial but head-scratching relationship with Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

But the civil rights organization was finally forced to confront Sterling’s alleged transgressions this weekend when reports of racially charged remarks exploded from the gossip website TMZ.

Leon Jenkins, president of the chapter, gave a statement and fielded questions Monday at a press conference in California, attempting to explain why his branch of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had been planning to give Sterling a lifetime achievement award, despite the basketball team owner’s history of alleged racist behavior.

Jenkins’ tone was strikingly defensive, asserting that he didn’t know whether it was really Sterling whose voice could be heard making racist statements on audio recordings that became public on Saturday. Jenkins also left the door open for future collaborations with the Clippers owner if Sterling proved penitent.

“There is a personal, economical and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn on racial relations,” Jenkins said in his opening statement.

The chapter also plans to return Sterling’s recent donations to the group, Jenkins said, though he declined to disclose how much the owner had given, saying only that it was “not a significant amount.”

It was the culmination of a strange affair between a man alleged on multiple occasions to hold racist beliefs and a group founded with the goal of eradicating those beliefs.

The 20-minute press conference, during which Jenkins was openly combative with the media, did little to illuminate how the NAACP had managed to ignore the prior allegations against Sterling. Jenkins portrayed the team owner simply as the winner in a philanthropic contest between Los Angeles area sports franchises.

“We looked at the body of work that he’s done. What we looked at all of the sports franchises in L.A. We look at how involved all these organizations in the community,” Jenkins said. “His organizations gave more money to the minority community.”

Sterling had already been given an award, which has alternately been described as being for lifetime achievement or humanitarian work, by the group back in 2009. There was outragethen, too, because Sterling had been sued for wrongful termination and was accused of allegedly freezing an ex-employee’s salary because of his race. He had also been sued in 2004 and 2006 for alleged housing discrimination. He eventually settled a $2.73 million lawsuit from the Department of Justice in 2009.

“He has a unique history of giving to the children of L.A.,” Jenkins said in 2009.

“We can’t speak to the allegations, but what we do know is that for the most part [Sterling] has been very, very kind to the minority youth community.””

Like many of you who don’t live in LA, I was not familiar with Mr Sterling or his background.

It’s tough to keep up with other sports-team owners when we have local personalities like Mr Cuban of the Mavericks & Mr Jones of the Cowboys.  (The Rangers’ owners stay away from the limelight!)

The NAACP spokesman is correct.  Mr Sterling has done a lot for LA kids and others.  He has contributed millions, like a lot of other wealthy people in this country do.

The NAACP needs to answer a few questions:

Why did the group have a relationship with this man? What about the racist allegations past?

Was the NAACP’s silence bought with contributions?

Also, how many other “liberal’ groups did Mr Sterling give money to over the years?  Will the media confront them for an explanation?

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.