Leon Jenkins, the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP has resigned.
According to the Washington Post, the decision was announced Thursday admist the scandal surrounding the racist comments of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the organization’s plans to honor him with his second NAACP Lifetime Achievement award.
In his letter of resignation Jenkins says, “Legacy, history and reputation of the NAACP is more important to me than the presidency. In order to seperate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have cause the NAACP, I respectfully resign.”
Jenkins has been criticized for his relationship with Sterling despite his long history of racial discrimination. The chapter was planning on awarding Sterling with a lifetime achievement award during a May 15 ceremony. The ceremony has since been canceled.
Sterling, who has been banned from the NBA as a result of his racist comments, was being recognized for his history of donating to minority charities and giving inner-city children tickets to games said Jenkins.
NAACP interim president and CEO Lorraine Miller spoke out about the incident and pending award ceremony saying, “The NAACP will not be honoring Mr. Sterling at the upcoming Los Angeles branch event, and we have strongly urged our Los Angeles unit to take the necessary steps to rescind the previous award they bestowed on him.”
In a statement, the NAACP’s national office also said, “We will be developing guidelines for our units to help them in their award selection process and prevent unfortunate decisions like this from occurring in the future.”
The organization is said to be conducting a full investigation into how the branch decided to honor Donald Sterling with another lifetime achievement award.