Hit Where It Hurts: State Farm, Carmax, Kia And Virgin America Are Pulling Sponsorship Of L.A. Clippers

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By: / April 28, 2014

And the fallout continues. After alleged audio of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his girlfriend was released by TMZ on Friday (April 25), State Farm and Carmax have announced that they will be ending sponsorship of the NBA franchise. Auto dealer Carmax has released the following statement: “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 its sponsorship.” State Farm’s stance is a bit more precarious: “The remarks attributed to the Clippers’ owner are offensive. While those involved sort out the facts, we will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization. We are monitoring the situation and we’ll continually assess our options. We have a great relationship with Chris Paul and will continue supporting the Born to Assist advertising campaign involving Chris and now other NBA players.” Kia and Virgin America have also pulled out.


Donald Sterling has been in the hot seat since the alleged audio leaked of him scolding his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, about posting a photo with Magic Johnson on her Instagram account. During the conversation, the 80-year-old man allegedly insists that Stiviano doesn’t bring Black people to Clippers games and uses Jim Crow-esque self-righteousness to deny being racist. “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game?” According to Steve Stoute, CEO of marketing firm Translation, there will be more Clippers sponsors dropping this week. “I’m telling the brands that I represent, ‘Let’s pull sponsorship.'” Stoute said on ESPN’s Colin Cowherd’s radio show The Herd with Colin Cowherd this morning. “State Farm is pulling out, and other brands are pulling out. We’re going to start seeing it over the next 48 hours.” The backlash will continue. Kevin Ding of The Bleacher Report tweeted “NBA will hold a press conference tomorrow to make an announcement about its investigation involving Clippers owner Donald Sterling.” Magic Johnson has reportedly expressed interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers. There’s no word on whether Chris Paul’s squad will continue to wear team shirts inside-out, in protest. —John Kennedy Update: Red Bull chucking the deuces, too.

Update 2: Huffington Post reports that Diddy’s Aquahydrate water brand is also suspending sponsorship of the Los Angeles Clippers until the NBA completes its investigation.