Sponsors Dump Los Angeles Clippers as Donald Sterling Racism Snafu Deepens

NBA Plans Thursday Announcement of Investigation

getty images

By Reuters

Published April 28, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Sterling is being investigated by the NBA over comments he allegedly made that have since sparked widespread outrage in the United States, and the league will hold a news conference in New York City on Tuesday to discuss developments.

The NBA’s brief announcement on Monday came shortly after some of the team’s sponsors began withdrawing their financial support of the Clippers while Sterling’s own family distanced themselves from him.

Auto dealer CarMax, a nine-year sponsor of the Clippers, was first to announce it was ending its association and was followed by Virgin America, State Farm, Kia Motors America, music mogul P. Diddy’s water brand, AQUAHydrate, Red Bull and Yokohama Tire.

“CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers’ owner completely unacceptable. These views directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all,” CarMax said in a statement.

State Farm said it was “pausing” its relationship with the Clippers while closely monitoring the situation.

AQUAHydrate posted on its Twitter account: “In the wake of Sterling’s alleged intolerable comments we are suspending our Clippers sponsorship until the NBA completes its investigation.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on Sunday that the league would “move extraordinary quickly in our investigation” after an audio recording was released of a racist rant allegedly made by Sterling.

The Clippers owner, who made his fortune in real estate, has not issued any public statements but the alleged comments, which include telling a woman not to bring African-Americans to Clippers games, have drawn widespread criticism.

PLAYERS OUTRAGED

President Barack Obama weighed in, as did the Clippers players in a silent protest before Sunday’s playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, while many Americans are calling for the NBA to send a message that such views will not be tolerated.

“This is a binding moment in the history of the NBA,” said Sacramento Mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson, who is assisting the players union. “They (the players) are just outraged.”

Five-time NBA champions Kobe Bryant, whose Lakers share their home venue with the Clippers at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, said of Sterling on Twitter: “No. He should not continue owning the clippers. #nochance #noway #nohow.”

If the NBA investigation confirms that Sterling did make the racist comments, he could expect a harsh punishment. There have already been calls for the billionaire to be removed as an NBA owner but he could also face a lengthy suspension and fine.

A lengthy suspension is widely seen as the likeliest outcome, according to experts, though the NBA is not expected to impose any punishment on Sterling until its investigation into the alleged comments is completed.

‘FAMILY IS DEVASTATED’

Such punishment is not unprecedented in North American professional sport.

Marge Schott, the former president and majority owner of Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, was suspended for two years for slurs against African-Americans and Jews. Schott eventually sold her controlling interest in the team.

Sterling’s estranged wife Shelly released a statement on Monday condemning the comments attributed to her husband.

“Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband. My children and I do not share these despicable views or prejudices,” she said.

“We will not let one man’s small mindedness poison the spirit of the fans and accomplishments of the team in the city we love. We are doing everything in our power to stand by and support our Clippers team.”

The Clippers are due to host Golden State on Tuesday in the fifth game of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series.

The teams are currently tied at 2-2 but the series has been overshadowed by the race row. The fallout has even impacted the pre-game entertainment for Tuesday’s game.

R&B recording artist Tank, who was scheduled to perform the U.S. national anthem, has withdrawn in protest.

“As an African American man and artist, I must take a stand on a matter that is so deeply personal to me,” he told TMZ.com.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.