Financial fallout could linger for NBA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The financial fallout from Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's racist rant is something NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league is still calculating.

As of Tuesday morning, more than a dozen major sponsors distanced themselves from the LA Clippers, including CarMax, State Farm Insurance and Mercedes-Benz.

"I'm hopeful that they will return in their business relationship with the Clippers," Silver said at a news conference Tuesday announcing a lifetime ban against Sterling and $2.5 million fine.

Silver said the league has yet to put a dollar amount on the damage done by Sterling's statements.

"Those marketing partners of the Clippers and partners of the NBA should judge us by our response to this incident, and I think we've responded appropriately," Silver said.

Silver told reporters he hopes there's no long-term damage to the NBA. Local advertising agency owner Jim Dalton said the sponsors who pulled out made careful decisions.

"The biggest risk is the amount of money these companies have invested in their brand and connected to a sports franchise, and they don't want it tarnished," Dalton said.

He points out that past business relationships aren't the only ones that have been jeopardized, but future sponsorships with the Clippers could be affected, too.

"They're probably talking to other sponsors right now about a relationship in the future," Dalton said. "Well, how is that sponsor going to look at this relationship? Are you going to rethink it?"

Silver said he understands the public outcry.

"As I said earlier, I'm outraged and I understand others' outrage, and it will take some time, this will take some time, and appropriate healing will be necessary."

Silver said he'll do his best to bring the sponsors back to the NBA family.

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