MARLEY JAY, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Used car dealership chain CarMax said Monday that it is ending its sponsorship of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers in the wake of racist comments attributed to team owner Donald Sterling.
A second sponsor, insurer State Farm, said it "will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization." For now, it will continue to run its Born to Assist ad campaign, which stars Clippers point guard Chris Paul. Sterling is alleged to have made the comments in a recorded conversation with a woman.
Portions of that conversation were released over the weekend by TMZ and Deadspin, leading to a national outcry.
"CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers' owner completely unacceptable," Richmond, Va.-based CarMax Inc. said Monday in an emailed statement.
"While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for 9 years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship."
State Farm also described the remarks as offensive and said it will monitor the situation as the facts are sorted out.
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How will sponsors proceed in their relationships with the Clippers franchise? Is an association or sponsorship a reflection of support of the team, or of the owner? Can the two be separated?
Andrew Zimbalist, Author, “The Sabremetric Revolution: Assessing The Growth of Analytics in Baseball”; Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College, a frequent sports industry consultant and media commentator
Manish Tripathi, business professor at the Emory Sports Marketing Analytics at Emory University