by ADELLE NAZARIAN 16 May 2014, 12:16 PM PDT
The Los Angeles NAACP chapter that withdrew its lifetime achievement award to embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling last month honored Al Sharpton with its “Person of the Year” award on Thursday evening, in Sterling's absence.
Sharpton took a dig at Sterling in his acceptance speech, according to Frank Stoltze of Southern California Public Radio. "Sterling may be rich but he’s not as rich as the history of this organization,” Sharpton told guests at the gala dinner.
The NAACP chapter distanced itself from Sterling after gossip website TMZ released a recording of Sterling using racial language in a conversation with his mistress. The NBA has voted to ban Sterling and wants him to sell the team.
Sharpton has his own history of racial controversy, including false accusations in the racially charged Tawana Brawley case, inciting anti-Jewish mobs in New York in the early 1990s, and fanning racial outrage in the Trayvon Marin case.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was also honored with the NAACP's “Person of the Year” award, reportedly said: “No matter who commits acts of racism--whether it’s a billionaire or somebody in our poorest neighborhoods--we have to speak out against it.”