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!
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • 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.