While the NBA investigates a tape of racist comments allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, a handful of sponsors of the Los Angeles Clippers have already pulled their association with Sterling's team.
CarMax, State Farm Insurance, Kia Motors America, AQUAhydrate, Lumber Liquidators, Virgin America, Red Bull, Yokohama tires and Mercedes-Benz were among the sponsors to announce they were suspending or severing ties with the Clippers in the wake of the controversy surrounding Sterling.
Perhaps most painful for the franchise was the loss of the Chumash Indians partnership, which was the Clippers' largest sponsor. The group released this statement on Monday:
"We've always been proud supporters of the Los Angeles Clippers, however, the recent statements attributed to the Clippers' owner have forced us to reconsider our relationship. We remain supportive of the members of the team and we wish them the very best going forward. As a group that has long been marginalized itself, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the Chumash Casino Resort are especially sensitive to maintaining the dignity of all people. We cannot ignore any statement that causes harm or hurts any group. As a result, we’re withdrawing our sponsorship of the Clippers organization."
Here's a full list of the sponsors who are suspending or terminating their association with the Clippers.
— Jess (@JGolden5) April 28, 2014
As bad as the sponsorship mess appears for the Clippers, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported that the situation could change depending on how the story plays out.
Clippers loss in sponsor $ minimal today. Most sponsors have paid bills. Consequence will be future if ship not righted
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) April 28, 2014
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is set to make an announcement regarding the league's investigation 2 p.m. ET Tuesday.