CarMax Ending Sponsorship With Clippers Amid Sterling Controversy; State Farm Could Be Next
CarMax has announced that "after 9 seasons, it will end its sponsorship" of the Clippers, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell. A statement from the company indicated that racist comments allegedly made by Clippers Owner Donald Sterling in an audiotape obtained by TMZ are "completely unacceptable” (TWITTER.com, 4/28). Meanwhile, Translation Founder & CEO Steve Stoute, whose company counts State Farm as a client, said he is "telling the brand immediately, 'Let's pull sponsorship,'" beginning with the insurance company. Stoute said, "We have a great program with Chris Paul and Cliff Paul. ... But when you have things like this taking place, somebody has to stand up. And from my standpoint, I'm going to use the opportunity of the brands that we represent. ... They're along with it. Until this thing is further investigated, we're going to have to suspend all spending with these guys." Stoute said, "Sponsoring the athletes is one thing, but no sponsoring of the team" ("The Herd," ESPN Radio, 4/28). Sports talk radio host Dan Patrick said of State Farm possibly ending its sponsorship with the team, "This is when you start to get somebody's attention, the dominoes start." Patrick: "When you have sponsors, advertisers who start to bail, that's when all of a sudden you get some people's attention, and maybe that's what's going to happen. You don't want your product affiliated with Donald Sterling, and you'll see others that will probably follow suit." Patrick: "When you become bad for business, that's when people take notice, that's when the other owners take notice" (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 4/28).