UPDATED: By the end of the day, the list of major advertisers cutting ties with the Los Angeles Clippers had grown to more than a dozen — including heavyweights like Sprint, Burger King and Samsung.
The L.A. Clippers should be focused on tomorrow’s crucial NBA play-off game against the San Francisco Warriors, but the Sterling controversy is a major distraction. Fallout and outrage are growing over audio recordings on two websites allegedly of Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, making racist comments. Today, several sponsors dropped the L.A. Clippers in light of the Sterling debacle.
The used vehicle retailer CarMax and Virgin America airlines announced the end of their sponsorship of the Clippers on Monday. Other sponsors like State Farm and car dealership Kia reportedly are suspending their contracts with the team — apparently waiting to see the results of an NBA investigation. Those results are expected tomorrow.
The first recording appeared on TMZ last Friday. On the tape a man, the site identified as Sterling, goes on a rant against African-Americans. It happens during a heated exchange with a V. Stiviano, who was Sterling’s girlfriend at the time the recording reportedly was made on April 9.
The man on the tape is heard berating the woman for her association with Black people. He demands she not “… bring them to my games.” Apparently V. Stiviano ignite the tirade when she posted a photo on Instagram of herself and another woman with Magic Johnson. The man is heard telling Stiviano:””…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
The outrage has spread around the world from the fans to the entertainment industry to political circles, including President Obama who denounced the racists remarks. Former Laker and entrepreneur, Magic Johnson, reacted swiftly and strongly to the alleged racist remarks saying Sterling should lose the right to own the Clippers:
Also, there are numerous reports out today about Johnson and his well-heeled backers being interested in purchasing the Clippers. Meanwhile, tomorrow the Clippers will have to try to block out the controversy and concentrate on basketball when they take on the Warriors at Staples Center in game five of that NBA series. That series is tied 2-2.