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State Farm, CarMax, Virgin America, Kia halt Clippers sponsorships as Donald Sterling faces allegations of racism

Apr 28, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT

The NBA is limited in the scope of the punishment it can hand Donald Sterlingwe’ll soon know what the league is doing – but the Clippers’ sponsors don’t face the same restrictions.

We don’t know what each sponsor’s contract stipulates, but it appears at least two have distanced themselves from the Clippers to varying degrees:

I’d guess the Clippers and each of their sponsors have similar, if not the same, langue on the sponsors ending their payments. If so, I expect more to follow CarMax and State Farm out the door. It’s bad business to be associated with Sterling, even if the allegations against him have not yet been proven true.

Updates: Virgin America has followed.

Kia, too.

If there’s a way to persuade Sterling – and his fellow owners – to act, it’s through their wallets.

As we’ve repeatedly said, getting Sterling to sell the team will not be easy. However, if he’s making less money from the team and a potential buyer could make more by bringing back the sponsors, that would push the needle in the direction of a sale. As much as he enjoys the fame of owning an NBA team, he’s also notoriously cheap. There’s no telling how he’d balance those two priorities if they butted heads.

And if the Clippers are losing opportunities to make money, the league is losing opportunities to make money. That affects every owner.

None of this will change what the NBA can do about Sterling, but it might change what the league will do and it might change what Sterling will do.

  1. spursareold - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    He’s going to lose a lot of money over this. If he doesn’t sell, and I know he doesn’t have to, sponsors won’t be the only thing disappearing. Look for a player exodus as contracts expire.

    • jziii - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      I agree. I think this is a more reasonable and justified means of punishing this jackhole.

      One thing, though: I feel bad for Clippers fans. They finally have a team that has been growing into something special after all of these years, and…Sterling has found a way to screw it up. It’s almost worse than being a Wolves fan, when the your team has no hope at all… But at least LA has nice weather.

      • southbeachtalent - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        agreed, sucks for the fans.

    • zerole00 - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      Would a player exodus really do anything? It’s widely acknowledged that for years Sterling ran the team to make a profit (low roster salary, profits through revenue sharing). What’s to stop him from going back to that?

    • spthegr8 - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      I was hoping and praying they were gonna throw those Cliff Paul commercials in there too. SOOOOOO SICK of them!!

  2. knickshater - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Good. Hit him where it hurts.

    • bougin89 - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Exactly. The only thing that will get through to Sterling is a huge hit to his bottom line.

  3. basketballhooper1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Am I the only one that thinks his girlfriend is pretty fugly?

    • therealhtj - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      You’d think with a net worth of nearly 2bil, he’d get a better eye doctor, right?

      • basketballhooper1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        Or at least a hotter gold digger… smh

      • spursareold - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        I think there’s only so much that billions will pull for you when you look like a thousand year old toad. The girl has to be able to do him without vomiting.

      • bougin89 - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:39 PM


    • phillyguyindc - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      She looks like an alien.

    • spthegr8 - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:32 PM

      She is kind of funny lookin. I’ve been saying the samething and some ppl look @ me like I am crazy. She kind of looks like Blanka from Street Fighter!!! LLS!!

  4. therealhtj - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    If the Clippers make a deep run, and Sterling gets suspended (but still profits) for a good season or two along with a steep fine, this all gets quickly forgotten.

  5. azarkhan - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Another Democrat done in by his hypocrisy. LOL

    • dmcannon99 - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      First of all, you brining up his political affiliation is more indicative of your political leanings than anything else. But here’s a bubble-burster for you – he’s a registered Republican. Keep laughing out loud, though. And good luck with that “hypocrite” crap.

      • azarkhan - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        LOL. Keep lying, after a while you may even believe it.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        He’s a registered Republican, but donated to Gray Davis’s campaign.

        He’s also not a fan of black people, but dating a half-black girl.

        Basically, he’s just really confused about life.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        He supported Democrats until the late 90’s and then became a registered Republican

  6. chiadam - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    I hope they win the title just for the hilarious awesomeness that will be their parade.

  7. aboogy123456 - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Too many Sterling articles. I get they want the clicks but it seems overboard. I’d rather just read the PBT Sterling article with everything included, and maybe this way they can focus on their grammar instead of pushing out an article after every relevant tweet.

  8. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Strip this guy of everything he owns except for the panties he wears behind closed doors while making his racist comments. Sell your team Jerkoff!

    • jziii - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      You have a very nuanced, realistic worldview.

  9. jacobk621 - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    “It’s a man , baby ” !!! – Austin Powers !!

  10. florida727 - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    If Sterling is worth a couple/few billion and the Clippers are valued at $430 million (per Forbes article I looked up), I wonder if he cares? Face it, this guy’s an idiot to the nth degree, and because he has more money than common sense, he figures he can have whatever view he wants and justify it in his own mind, small as it may be. As for the skirt, is that all a couple billion can get you?

    • redbaronx - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      @florida727 – He’s GOING to care once he loses his sponsorships, players stop wanting to play there, and fans stop going to games. I wouldn’t be surprised if this effects his personal business too as in people that don’t want to do business with him (not talking about Clips). Just watch what happens now…

  11. 5xchamp24 - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    Frankly, i’m sick of those corny Blake Griffin and CP3 commercials anyway. The humor in that Kia commercial is about as bad as Blakes jump shot.

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