NBA Commissioner Adam Silver dispatched some swift justice yesterday on the bigoted owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling. The 80-year-old billionaire was banned for life and fined $2.5 million for making strongly racist remarks that were recorded on tape. Commissioner Silver has also vowed to try and force Sterling to sell the Clippers in a bid to sever any and all connection between him and the NBA.

Sponsors had rapidly abandoned the Clippers, with covers like the one above going up on sponsor logos during a playoff game against the Golden State Warriors earlier this week, due to the strong and vocal public condemnation of Sterling and his views. With the punishments in place, though, the door has been opened for Kia, the southern California dealer group for Mercedes-Benz and used-car retailer CarMax (among other, less auto-related organizations like State Farm, Red Bull and Sprint) to renew their sponsorship with the team.

"We stand with the Commissioner, the league, the players and the fans condemning Mr. Sterling's views. We look forward to a positive resolution and continuing our relationships within the NBA community, including our league and team sponsorships and our personal ties to [Clippers star] Blake Griffin," Kia said in a statement obtained by Automotive News.

Mercedes-Benz was simpler and more ambiguous in its statement, saying, "We applaud the decisive action taken by the NBA and we're evaluating how we will move forward."

CarMax, meanwhile, was also vague on whether it'd return. "We welcome the opportunity to discuss future sponsorship if this matter is fully resolved," the retailer said in a statement.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      Car Guy
      • 8 Months Ago
      I don't like sterling or his comments. But to force someone to sell a private asset when no crime had been committed is a major loss against free speech in This county. The thought police can stick it.
        Carpinions
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        Free speech has consequences. There is no right to absolute free speech in all things.
        ragtopdodge
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        YOu hold a franchise. The CHAIN can revoke your franchise. Just like if you owned a KFC franchise and you the owner, won't hire them NEGROS and stated so privately. No diff here.
        D E S I G N
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        words can lead to hate, hate can lead to crime. History has shown that already, time and time again. It's a good thing that people are up in arms over these incidents, before they explode out of control. When it hits your home, you'll have a different point of view, I'm sure.
        emagdnim653
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        Last i checked sterling wasnt being arrested. Where in the constitution does it say a franchisor like the nba doesnt have the right to force out a franchisee like sterling for tarnishing the nba's image. Sounds like people here want to limit the nba's freedom to not be associated with a racist (which also affects their bottom line). That doesnt sound very free market to me. If sterling wants to say stupid **** he shouldnt be a part of a franchise. Look at the owner of chik fila. I didnt see anyone running to take away his business. Because he isnt a franchisee. But the chik fila sponsors have every right under freedom of speech to protect there bottom line and not be associated with those people. This isnt rocket science people.
      Al
      • 8 Months Ago
      This is definitely over done. I mean really, who cares about what he said?! People are just too sensitive over small insignificant things.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Al
        Decent people care. NBA players care. Just because you don't care about anything that doesn't affect you, doesn't mean other people are the same way.
          icemilkcoffee
          • 7 Months Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          "His comments were not bad, its what the average American would say" Speak for yourself. Not everyone is a racist creep.
          Bryan Rex
          • 7 Months Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          NO, Decent people care about PRIVACY and the fact that she recorded him ILLEGALLY. He was obviously baited into the comments he made. His comments were not bad, its what the average American would say.. in fact, most would probably have said much worse. Trust me, racism goes both ways.. and only Whites get into trouble for it. It is fact, look at JayZ and Snoop... no backlash, nothing... who cares...
          blasds78
          • 7 Months Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          @Bryan Your point was valid, but ruined by the piece Icemilk highlighted. I don't think the average American would say the things Sterling said in the illegally-recorded audio.
          bubba_roe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          In a free country you can dislike and not associate with whoever you please and say whatever you want about those people. People like you are slowly making the US an un-free country.
      Actionable Mango
      • 8 Months Ago
      Who is releasing this audio? Is it legal in California to secretly record phone calls? I see a million news stories about the ban, but I feel like there's a big part of the story that's not being reported.
        ragtopdodge
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Doesn't matter. If you illegally taped a conversation or video that say...Ted Cruz is Nazi sympathizer, the person who taped it can go to jail, but Ted Cruz should still suffer the consequences of his words/actions. Why isn't this obvious to everyone?
      muspod
      • 8 Months Ago
      why is this on autoblog??
      churchmotor
      • 8 Months Ago
      Do they still advertise on MSDNC with that racist Al Sharpton spewing his racist comments every day?
        Robert M
        • 8 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        They advertise on Faux News, too. Either way, money knows no color or racial bias.
          churchmotor
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Robert M
          Robert, I don't really care if they advertise on "Comedy Central" or "The Onion"
        blasds78
        • 8 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        Do these brands advertise there? I can't watch that channel for long.
        Robert Moore
        • 7 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        Thanks why I vote independent (i'm a moderate BTW). I don't pay attention to Fox, MSNBC, CNN, Comedy Central or The Onion because all they care is $$$ and not me.
      TOM ADDY FOODS B
      • 8 Months Ago
      What he said was bad, however, I think he has a right to say and think it. No more NBA or Carfax, Mercedes, Kia or Yokohama for me
        linuxaddict7
        • 8 Months Ago
        @TOM ADDY FOODS B
        Just think about it - The association has the right to kick him out. If he was still part of NBA, that would bring bad image and revenue to the league . You can't say whatever you can just because you can.
        Mr.Roadrage
        • 7 Months Ago
        @TOM ADDY FOODS B
        So you boycott anybody who wants nothing to do with racism? If the racist has the right to say and think what he wants, then surely Mercedes, Kia and Yokohama have the right to decide who they have dealings with.
        czombie
        • 7 Months Ago
        @TOM ADDY FOODS B
        That is your right. Obviously those companies thought more people than not would be offended by what he said or else they would not have pulled their sponsorships.
      Ken Mam
      • 8 Months Ago
      Basketball is a black mans' sport. That is all.
        sstowes
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Ken Mam
        Tell that the Larry Bird, Dave DeBusscher, Chris Mullen, Bill Walton, Pistol Pete, Bobby Cousy, and Jerry Lucas. Hell, tell that to Jerry West. That white dude was dope, he's the NBA logo guy. Don't let anybody fool you...white men CAN jump. (full disclosure, I'm black...I'm just a big fan of the game)
          Carpinions
          • 7 Months Ago
          @sstowes
          Or Paxon or Kerr or Hornacek or Majerle or Stockton or Mchale or Nash or Ainge...
      sstowes
      • 8 Months Ago
      Before someone inevitably comes in complaining about how Sterling's First Amendment right was violated (there seems to be a lot of that): The First Amendment protects one's freedom of speech from being limited by the government. The government did not intervene. Capitalism did, and as a capitalist, the first thing you're supposed to know is, freedom of speech does NOT mean freedom from consequence. That does include the previous accusations (and subsequent lawsuits) against him for racial discrimination. Now, regarding the sponsors returning, this was inevitable. They did the right thing stepping away, but they weren't going to be gone for long. There's a lot of exposure in sports for brands. Kia, Mercedes and Carmax weren't going to leave the money alone for long.
        blasds78
        • 8 Months Ago
        @sstowes
        This (lost advertisers, plummeting ticket sales, etc.) is how Sterling SHOULD have been punished, not with the NBA's over-reaction. Taking away his team, banning him, and fining him is too much. Jay-Z doesn't get that treatment. The ignorant players (i.e. players who are ignorant) don't get that treatment. This story was sensationalized, and the NBA reacted.
      muspod
      • 8 Months Ago
      They can't make him sell the team. Mrs owns 50% of the team and did nothing wrong. If they do, Who would be stupid enough to pay north of a BILLION ++ for the Clippers?!
      CarCrazy24
      • 7 Months Ago
      Yea take that Sterling! Now stay home with your 24 year old mistresses and your billions of dollars, that will teach you!
      Guerro
      • 7 Months Ago
      WIN for free speach!! Wait... nevermind.
        ragtopdodge
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Guerro
        Free speech is protection from the GOVERNMENT; not from public opinion and BUSINESS. Know the diff. You can say/do anything you want. But you must also accept the consequences.
          Bernard
          • 7 Months Ago
          @ragtopdodge
          @churchmotor They who? Read the capitol words from ragtopdodge again. Maybe you need them in spanish? Gobierno no negocio. Or French? Gouvernement d'entreprise ne. Or Arabic? الحكومة لن الأعمال
          churchmotor
          • 7 Months Ago
          @ragtopdodge
          But, they plan to FORCE his to sell his business. How is that FREE Speech?
        emagdnim653
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Guerro
        Hooray for spelling skills!! Oh wait... Nevermind.
      churchmotor
      • 7 Months Ago
      Odd how Al Sharpton spews his racist rants, owes almost 2 million in taxes, and armed guards are not showing up on his property like Bundy's.....oh wait, he praises Obama. Now a Democratic Mayoral Candidate in New Jersey spews this, and I've not heard a peep about it on MSDNC or ABC or.... Marie Strumolo Burke, a Democrat who is running for mayor in Belleville, New Jersey, was allegedly caught on tape making some extremely racist remarks. "“This is terrible. This is terrible. This is gonna be a f—— n—– town,” Burke is allegedly heard yelling in the background, as Papa is heard discussing tax changes."
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