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The Los Angeles Clippers organization is having a whirlwind distraction in the midst of the Donald Sterling racist scandal and now it’s costing them advertising dollars.

Reports Fox Sports:

Used car dealership chain CarMax and airline Virgin America said Monday that they are ending their sponsorships of the Clippers in the wake of comments allegedly made by the team’s owner, Donald Sterling.

A third sponsor, Kia Motors America, said it is suspending its advertising and sponsorship activities with the team. A fourth, insurer State Farm said it “will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization.”

Companies sponsor teams to capitalize on the feel-good nature of sports, but the incident highlights the fact that sponsorships carry a risk when the news turns negative.

Allen Adamson, managing director of research firm Landor Associates, said there’s little benefit for brands to stick with the company.

“There’s some benefit in moving quickly,” he said “You can always renew your sponsorship later, but the longer you’re linking your brand to a brand in trouble, the higher the risk.”

The backlash surrounding Sterling’s alleged racist comments has been a gigantic one, with several NBA players and rappers all denouncing their longtime owner in their own way.

Former NBA all-star and current mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson is helping the Clippers organization deal with the matter and he recently appeared on News One Now with Roland Martin and let it be known that things are being handled swiftly and soundly.

“These audiotapes of his comments made by Mr. Sterling, you know, are true. They are reprehensible and completely unacceptable and they represent the worst kind of ignorance and intolerance and it’s not representative of what we stand for in terms of the NBA,” he stated. He also went to discuss how the players wanted to be actively involved in the process of weighing and they will.

Continuing on, Mayor Johnson revealed, “The players have felt very strongly, whatever sanctions that allowed under the bylaws of the Constitution, that Adam Silver our new commissioner, has to do what is most severe and has to be very extreme in those sanctions and as a result, the commissioner has a responsibility to the League, to the owners and to the players. And to your point, the owners have to bear responsibility.”

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