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Pittsburgh NAACP chapter president glad NBA 'made an example' of discredited Clippers owner

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By Megan Harris
Thursday, May 1, 2014, 11:06 p.m.

Racist comments made by NBA franchise owner and would-be NAACP award winner Donald Sterling tarnished only himself, said civil rights leaders attending the Pittsburgh NAACP's 60th annual Human Rights Dinner on Thursday night.

“There will always be ignorant people in the world,” said Cecile Springer, honoree and president of Springer Associates. “The mission of the NAACP is and has always been to educate ourselves, know our history and be sure our message — equality for all — is heard.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced on Tuesday that Sterling, longtime owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, would receive a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine for racially disparaging remarks captured in an audio recording that circulated without Sterling's consent.

Before the controversy, he was expected to receive a second lifetime achievement award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Those plans were canceled.

Pittsburgh chapter President Constance Parker said at the dinner in the Westin Convention Center that she felt satisfied with the punishment.

“We don't want to kill him, but he needed to be made an example of,” she said. “I think the people in the NBA are realizing they have to put their wealth back in society to change what they're seeing in their home communities.”

Sterling donated to the Los Angeles chapter for years.

Aja Brown, the youngest mayor in Compton, Calif., history, served as keynote speaker at the dinner.

The event recognizes civil rights leaders young and old. Award recipients included Charles Powell, director of diversity and community engagement for the Urban Redevelopment Authority; longtime equality activist and civil rights leader Alma Speed Fox; Sabrina Saunders, recently appointed executive director of Strong Women, Strong Girls, Pittsburgh; and Springer.

Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5815 or

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