And So It Begins: Sponsors Are Starting To Pull Their Money From The LA Clippers
Update: We can now also add Virgin America to this list. “While we continue to support the fans and the players, Virgin America has made the decision to end its sponsorship of the L.A. Clippers,” a rep tells TMZ.
Amtrak, Kia, and LoanMart can also be included. For Amtrak, their contract was up at the end of the season, so they’re already working to pull its ads from anything Clippers-related.
A Clippers player, Blake Griffin, is actually a spokesperson for Kia. Nevertheless, the company said Sterling’s comments are “offensive and reprehensible” and while they support the sport, they aren’t sticking with this team.
It’s another Paula Deen-like exodus!
Anheuser-Busch had been listed as a Clippers sponsor, however the company is making it very clear that that’s not the case. A statement sent to us from Lisa Weser, Sr. Director Communications at Anheuser-Busch states: “As the Official Beer of the NBA, we are disappointed to hear the alleged recent comments attributed to L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. While Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light are not team sponsors of the LA Clippers, we fully support the NBA’s efforts to investigate quickly and trust that they will take appropriate action.” The company was last a Clippers sponsor way back in 2009.
Two sponsors have announced that they are going to pull their support from the LA Clippers basketball team following racist remarks caught on tape, made by owner Donald Sterling.
CarMax, the online used car sales portal, told TMZ, “CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers’ owner completely unacceptable. These views directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals. The company had been a sponsor of the team for the past nine years.
State Farm is also pulling its sponsorship (at least temporarily), with Steve Stoute, CEO of the marketing firm Translation and the man behind the recent Vh1 documentary The Tanning of America, speaking to ESPN radio to announce the split. State Farm is one of Stoute’s clients.
“When you have things like this taking place, somebody has to stand up,” Stoute said. The company has also released a statement to CNBC saying, “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 asses 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.”
Rev. Al Sharpton says he’s going to press companies to take similar measures or organize boycotts of the advertiser organizations. And former players, including Magic Johnson (who might be trying to buy the team?) and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, have said that they want to see that Sterling receives the “maximum punishment.”