NEW YORK — The NBA has called a Tuesday news conference to make an announcement about the investigation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The league says it will announce further details, though it’s not clear when those are coming.
Sterling is being investigated over allegations he made racially charged comments in a recorded conversation with a woman. Portions of that conversation were released over the weekend by TMZ and Deadspin.
The players’ union has asked Commissioner Adam Silver to rule quickly, preferably before the Clippers play host to Golden State in a critical Game 5 of their knotted-up Western Conference first-round series on Tuesday night. Silver has said the league would move quickly on the matter.
The Los Angeles Clippers have Monday off.
“This situation is a massive distraction for the league right now,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the former NBA All-Star who is serving as an adviser to the National Basketball Players Association while the Sterling matter plays out. “It must be addressed immediately.”
Silver’s first priority is verifying Sterling’s voice is on the recording. From there, Silver’s next move remains unclear. He works for the owners — and so far that group seems to have no sympathy for Sterling’s latest controversy.
Among those who have spoken out publicly to condemn the alleged Sterling remarks: Washington’s Ted Leonsis, Miami’s Micky Arison and perhaps most notably, Charlotte’s Michael Jordan, who won six NBA titles as a player.
“I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views,” Jordan said in a statement. “I’m confident that Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly.”
Used car dealership chain CarMax and airline Virgin America said Monday that they are ending their sponsorships of the Clippers in the wake of Sterling’s alleged comments.
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.”
“CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers’ owner completely unacceptable,” Richmond, Va.-based CarMax Inc. said Monday in an emailed statement. “While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for 9 years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship.”
Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm also described the remarks as offensive and said it will monitor the situation as the facts are sorted out. It will continue to run its Born to Assist ad campaign, which began in December 2012 and features Clippers point guard Chris Paul as himself and a fictional, mustachioed insurance-selling twin, Cliff Paul. State Farm said that campaign is part of its overall sponsorship of the NBA.
Kia also said that suspending its sponsorship and ads with the Clippers does not affect its deal with Clippers star Blake Griffin, who appears in commercials for the car company.