ESPN commentators Jemele Hill and Stephen A. Smith blasted the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP for giving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling a lifetime achievement award, with Smith saying the NAACP contributed to the “demise of our community with that action just as much as anyone else outside of our communities.”
Hill and Smith, both of whom are black, made the comments in response to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s lifetime ban on Sterling on Monday.
Calling the award “nonsense,” Smith said that blacks often trust organizations like the NAACP to vet people, and its lifetime award to Sterling exposed many of the NAACP’s transgressions. Smith said he could not blame players for thinking that someone who received an NAACP humanitarian award may not be a racist.
“If you’ve got someone like that giving this guy a lifetime achievement award, what are a bunch of dudes not paying attention [going to think]?” Smith said.
Smith said it was despicable that one of the organizations representing blacks and purportedly fighting for their advancement was “literally contributing to keeping us down” by giving Sterling a lifetime achievement award.
“Are you kidding me?” he said. “We’ve got an obligation to point that out too.”
Hill said the lifetime achievement award was “beyond reprehensible” and mentioned that it is the NAACP’s job to vet Sterling. She said it is an “incredibly bad and awful mark that they fell down on the job.”