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Donald Sterling Racist Comments: LA Clippers Sponsor Pulls Out, Team Owner Apologizes Amid Backlash (VIDEO)

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By Benge Nsenduluka , CP Reporter
April 28, 2014|1:36 pm
Donald Sterling, Shelly (Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (r) and his estranged wife Shelly (l).

Donald Sterling, the disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, caused at least one team sponsor to cut all professional ties after audio of his foul-mouthed racist rant went viral over the weekend.

TO HEAR THE FULL AUDIO OF DONALD STERLING CLICK HERE

CarMax, a 9-year sponsor of the L.A. Clippers, announced Monday that the company will no longer be associated with Sterling's team in the wake of a racism scandal. On Saturday, TMZ.com obtained 9min audio in which Sterling, 81, and 38-year-old Vanessa Stiviano, a woman claiming to be his "archivist" but rumored to be his girlfriend, are heard arguing over her publicizing her association with "black people" on social networking site Instagram.

Vanessa (PHOTO) Instagram: VStiviano

Socialite Vanessa Stiviano claims to be L.A. Clippers' owner Donald Sterling's "archivist"

"CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers' owner completely unacceptable," a rep for CarMax - the largest used car retailer – told TMZ.

"These views directly conflict with CarMax's culture of respect for all individuals," the rep continued. "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."

In addition to losing the CarMax sponsorship, Sterling has garnered backlash from Clippers' fans and other NBA enthusiasts in addition to receiving widespread criticism - most recently from U.S. President Barack Obama who described the audio as "ignorant" and "offensive," reported the Washington Times.

Sterling maintains that he is not a racist, despite the vitriolic content heard in tape. In a statement, he suggested that the tape may have been "altered," however, he has not denied that is his voice heard in the recording.

"We have heard the tape on TMZ Sports. We do not know if it is legitimate or if it has been altered," Sterling and the Clippers organization told TMZ sports in a statement.

"We do know that the woman on the tape -- who we believe released it to TMZ Sports -- is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family, alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would 'get even,'" the statement continued. "Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life."

Stiviano is reportedly being sued by Sterling's estranged wife Shelly for allegedly embezzling $1.8 million of Shelly and Sterling's money during the four years she has been working for the billionaire.

In the audio, Stiviano and Sterling appear to be arguing over a now deleted photo the socialite posted on social networking site Instagram of herself alongside NBA legend Magic Johnson. At one point he makes a disturbing request that Stiviano, who is of black and Mexican descent, stop "associating with black people" in public.

"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?" Sterling is heard saying in the tape.

"You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that ... and not to bring them to my games," he goes on. "Don't put [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."

An attorney for Stiviano told The Los Angeles Times that the tapes were "legitimate" and that they came from a conversation that was roughly an hour long.

Meanwhile Sterling, who is reported to have contacted Stiviano after the audio release in an attempt to make it all "go away," claims to feel "terrible" that he has been branded a "racist" in the media.

"He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them," a statement read.

In addition to Obama and even Johnson himself, a number of Hollywood stars including rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian Kevin Hart have openly condemned Sterling and even vowed to boycott his games.

On Sunday the Los Angeles Clippers staged a silent protest by wearing their shirts inside out to hide their team logos during their pregame routine, before they faced the Golden State Warriors for Game 4 of their first-round series.

Los Angeles Clippers (Photo: Screengrab/ESPN)

Los Angeles Clippers Players stage a silent protest by wearing their warm up shirts inside out before their playoff game on April 27. 2014.

TO HEAR THE FULL AUDIO OF DONALD STERLING CLICK HERE

 

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