Clipper’s automotive sponsors take a walk after Donald Sterling’s comments

As if team owner Donald Sterling’s racist remarks hadn’t stirred the pot with the Los Angeles Clippers and their fans, it seems that the organization may be taking a huge financial hit as well. Just as the team began the season with a positive momentum shift in staffing, coaching, players, and performance, TMZ dropped a media bomb during playoffs of a conversation Sterling had with his girlfriend which included his attitude towards a certain demographic of fans. To put it lightly, he is less than pleased with black Americans attending his games. We’ll let you hear for yourself (in case the news hasn’t already bombarded you with audio clips) on TMZ’s website or down below:

Not only is this a blow to the Clipper’s organization, but sponsors are the last that want to be caught giving money to an owner who expresses such beliefs. First to jump ship was 9-season sponsor CarMax, one of the oldest and long standing corporate partners. The company clearly expressed that Sterling’s conversation was less than pleasing and will no longer be a supporter of the team.

Next to take the walk was an even bigger sponsor with active involvement all over the NBA and not just the Los Angeles Clippers alone. Kia Motors America has ties with “Inside the NBA”, a basketball talk show starring the league’s greats on the TNT network, but also plays the role as the official automotive partner of the entire league as a whole. Kia Motors made comments stating that still strongly support the game, league, and its players but can no longer affiliate themselves with the Clippers and it’s owner.

Lastly was Mercedes-Benz Southern California. Claiming that they have to cease ties with the team immediately due to their lack of shared values, that’s putting it nicely. Of course adding that they still have love for the game and the fans as well.

These three weren’t the only to quickly disassociate, other partners did not want to carry the stigma Sterling put on the organization which is concerning for Seth Burton, Clippers’ spokesperson, due to enormous amounts of funding suddenly vanishing overnight. In addition, many of the game’s greats as well as globally recognized celebrities are sharing their anger towards the matter which is never good press for supporting partners. It’s nothing personal however, just no business could possibly in their right minds be associated with an owner and team that would promote or even think of such thoughts. Donald Sterling surely dug his own grave, however the future of the team as a whole is still yet to be determined.

Video Source: TMZ’s YouTube Channel

Photo Source: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok