State Farm Stuck on ‘Pause’ in Face of NBA Owner’s Ban

April 29, 2014

In the face of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s banishment from the National Basketball Association on Tuesday State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance reaffirmed its stance that it’s taking “pause” of its dealings with the team.

State Farm, which counts Clippers All-Star and NBA Players Association President Chris Paul and the “Born to Assist” campaign among its endorsers, issued a statement after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a news conference in which he announced the NBA’s punishment of Sterling for comments he allegedly made about blacks.

“State Farm applauds and supports the NBA’s swift and decisive action regarding the Clippers’ owner,” the statement reads. “We echo Commissioner Silver in that we also are proud of Chris Paul’s leadership in this issue. State Farm reaffirms its support of the NBA, Chris Paul and the ‘Born to Assist’ campaign.  At this time, we are continuing the pause of our sponsorship of the Clippers organization as we evaluate this ongoing situation.”

Silver banned the Clippers owner for life and fined him the maximum penalty of $2.5 million.

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play. The NBA banned Sterling over an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to his Stiviano. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Virgin America Inc. and CarMax Inc. have already ended their sponsorships with the Clippers, while State Farm and Kia Motors Corp. suspended their involvement with the team while an investigation was ongoing over racist comments attributed to Sterling.

Sterling’s comments were broadcast on the website TMZ over the weekend in recording on which, according to TMZ, Sterling told a girlfriend he didn’t want her to bring black people to his games after she posted a photo of herself with Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson on Instagram.

State Farm in 2012 launched its “Born to Assist” campaign with Paul, who led the NBA in assists for two seasons.

State Farm turned its “Born to Assist” campaign into a TV commercial in which Paul was separated at birth from his identical twin brother, Cliff Paul. Both brothers grow up dedicated to “assisting” people, Chris assists in the NBA, while Cliff assists by working as a State Farm agent.

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