Sponsors flee Clippers in light of Donald Sterling flap


Sponsors fled the Clippers on Monday in the wake of racist comments allegedly made by owner Donald Sterling.

CarMax and Virgin America severed ties with the Clippers, while Aquahydrate, Kia Motors America and State Farm suspended their relationships.

In a statement ending its nine-year sponsorship of the Clippers, CarMax called the comments “completely unacceptable.”


“These views directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals,” the company said. “While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for nine years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship.”

State Farm said Sterling’s remarks were “offensive” and it will “take a pause” from the Clippers.

“While those involved sort out the facts, we will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization,” State Farm said in a statement released to CNBC. “We are monitoring the situation and we’ll continually assess our options.”

State Farm introduced an advertising campaign featuring Chris Paul in 2012. The pause won’t affect the company’s work with the Clippers point guard.

In a Twitter post, Aquahydrate described Sterling’s comments as “intolerable,” while Virgin America reiterated its support for Clippers fans and players in an emailed statement canceling its sponsorship.

Kia Motors America echoed Virgin America’s support of Clippers players and the NBA but criticized Sterling’s comments.

“The comments allegedly made by Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, are offensive and reprehensible, and they are inconsistent with our views and values,” the emailed statement said.

Twitter: @nathanfenno