After a week of criticism over his response to the Donald Sterling scandal and further scrutiny of a past seemingly riddled with questionable dealings, Leon Jenkins has resigned as president of the LA chapter of the NAACP.
Jenkins submitted a resignation letter that reads, in part: “Please be advised that the legacy, history and reputation of the NAACP is more important to me than the presidency. In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused the NAACP, I respectfully resign my position as President of the Los Angeles NAACP.” In its announcement about the resignation, the NAACP reiterated that it is creating guidelines for award recipients. Sterling had been in line to receive a second lifetime achievement award from the NAACP before the honor was rescinded by the organization.
Jenkins has been under fire for his tepid response to racist comments caught on tape, made by the Clippers owner and for the longstanding relationship the LA chapter had with Sterling despite allegations of prior discriminatory words and actions. In the process, various things about Jenkins’ past have become public. For instance, The Root quotes a Michigan Citizen report that says Jenkins “routinely ‘sold the public trust.'” A lawyer and judge, Jenkins was reportedly removed from the Michigan bench.
A petition to have Jenkins removed had been started on Change.org.
Now disgraced, Sterling is likely to lose ownership of the LA Clippers. Moreover, sources have confirmed to ESPN.com that Sterling has cancer. The New York Post says it’s prostate cancer and it’s been a long battle, with sources telling the paper he was given a fatal prognosis years ago.
“People have been predicting his imminent demise. I’m sure he has the best . . . drugs money can buy,” the paper quotes. Sterling is 80 years old. And he is said to have once denied coverage to an employee who needed prostate cancer surgery. Four Clippers players chipped in $70,000 to get the staffer, then-Clippers assistant coach Kim Hughes, the medical attention he needed.
Clippers players Blake Griffin and Chris Paul expressed surprise about news of Sterling’s health but said their thoughts were with him.
The Post also says Sterling has been staying in the penthouse of a mostly-empty Beverly Hills building that he owns, fearful of being recorded in the Malibu home he shared with his wife.