The racist remarks by LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling has already stirred a hornet’s nest, drawing a widespread condemnation from basketball fans, players, politicians and celebrities alike. Sterling’s racist rant has started having dire consequences for the LA Clippers, with a growing number of long-term corporate sponsors and major advertisers halting sponsorship and advertising relationships with the team with immediate effect.
Reports say that corporate sponsors like Corona, Kia, Virgin America, Samsung and Red Bull are among others have pulled out, while several companies have suspended advertising and marketing campaigns over the furore.
Last week,US President Barack Obama weighed in, reportedly decrying the discouraging reality that the country “continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation”.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk and that’s what happened here,” Obama was quoted as saying.
Basketball legend and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, the main target of his remarks expressed his disappointment, hurt and outrage over Sterling’s remarks and is reportedly looking to buy the LA Clippers franchise, but not while Sterling owns it.
Meanwhile,the NBA is expected to announce investigation findings later today (Tuesday). Sanctions could include a lifetime suspension and a hefty fine, but the National Basketball Players Association says Sterling has no place in the NBA family and has called on the body to force Sterling to sell the team.