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Sponsors Drop Clippers over Owners Racist Remarks
On Monday, corporate sponsors started to distance themselves from the Los Angeles Clippers, after a taping of the team’s owner, Donald Sterling, was heard allegedly making racist remarks.
According to the Huffington Post, a statement provided to them on Monday read, Carmax, a used car chain, confirmed it would cut ties with the team, ending a nine-year partnership. Virgin America confirmed to HuffPost that it would end its sponsorship with the Clippers, noting that the company continues to “support the fans and the players.”
A spokesman from Mercedes Benz wrote in an email to the Huffington Post that the company “has moved to cease its sponsorship of the Clippers effective immediately.” Chumash Casino Resort told Businessweek it was “withdrawing it’s sponsorship” of the team.
State Farm Insurance, Corona, Kia car maker, Red Bull, Sprint, Lumber Liquidators and many other sponsors have decided to suspend sponsorship with the team.
LoanMart, auto title loan company, wrote on it’s Facbook page that it’s suspending it’s advertising and marketing relationship with the Clippers and monitoring the situation. In a statement, Yokohama Tire Company said it’s suspending sponsorship.
According to Businessweek, late Monday Samsung announced it had decided to suspend it’s advertising campaign both at Clippers games and on TV while the Clippers play.
In an email sent to the Huffington Post, a spokeswoman wrote, CarMax finds the statements attributed to the clippers’ owner completely unacceptable. These views directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals, while we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for 9 years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end it’s sponsorship.”
After Steve Stoute, the CEO of marketing firm Translation, which represents State Farm, told ESPN radio that the insurance company will be pulling it’s sponsorship, CarMax decided to pull sponsorship just hours after his announcement. “What I’m going to do and what I think is important from my side is I’m telling the brands immediately ‘let’s pull sponsorship’ starting with State Farm.” Stoute said. “When you have things like this taking place, somebody has to stand up.”
According to the Huffington Post, a statement released by State said that the company will “pause” it’s relationship with the Clippers while “those involved sort out the facts.” The company still plans to work with Clippers star Chris Paul.
“State Farm strongly supports and respects diversity and inclusion in it’s workforce and customers. The remarks attributed to the Clippers’ owner are offensive,” the statement reads, “We are monitoring the situation and we’ll continually assess our options.”
A spokeswoman from Corona, Emily Reynolds, wrote to the Huffington Post saying “Like everyone else, Corona is appalled by the comments allegedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, these comments run counter to the type of brand Corona aspires to be.”
MSNBC host and activist Rev. Al Sharpton, vowed Monday to pressure companies that work with the team and the NBA to cut ties until the league rids itself of Sterling.
TMZ released a recording Friday of a man said to be Sterling instructing his then mistress not to bring black people to the Clippers games. The recording went viral and started an outrage across the country.
Image Credit: TMZSponsors Drop Clippers over Owners Racist Remarks by Jaan