Los Angeles Clippers Losing Sponsors After Racist Tirade
April 29, 2014 Leave a comment
This has been a bad few days for the Los Angeles Clippers. After owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape making racist remarks, a large outcry against Sterling and his alleged remarks were felt throughout the NBA.
Corporate sponsors are distancing themselves from the now controversial team (well, really, Sterling), a reaction that is neither uncommon nor unexpected. CarMax, the popular used car chain, is leading the pack by severing a nine-year relationship with the NBA team.
“CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers’ owner completely unacceptable. These views directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals,” a CarMax spokeswoman wrote in an email to HuffPost. “While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for 9 years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship.”
Following suit are Virgin America (who also stated they will continue to support the team and its fans), and State Farm insurance, who released a statement saying it will “pause its relationship” with the Clippers” until “those involved sort out the facts.” Steve Stoute, CEO of the marketing firm Translation (who represents State Farm) told ESPN that the insurance company will most likely pull their sponsorship altogether on the basis of standing up against discrimination. In the meantime, State Farm will keep its sponsorship of player Chris Paul.
Unfortunately for the team, it didn’t end there. Red Bull is suspending their team marketing activities (although they will continue to support player Blake Griffin) while the NBA investigates the legitimacy of the tape. AQUAhydrate, Amtrak and Corona are also scaling back their support for Sterling.
Last Friday, TMZ released an audio recording of a man believed to Sterling telling his girlfriend to not bring black people to Clippers games. In just a few short hours it sparked outrage across the country, drawing comments from everyone from NBA superstars to President Obama.