Tags: Clippers | Sterling | Kia | NBA

Kia Had 'Easy Decision' in Cutting Ties to Sterling's Clippers

Thursday, 15 May 2014 03:52 PM

Kia Motors Corp. had an “easy decision” to sever its relationship with the Los Angeles Clippers after racially charged comments by team owner Donald Sterling became public, a U.S. executive for the automaker said.

“It was an easy decision to make because we were all just horrified by what the owner of the Clippers said,” Michael Sprague, executive vice president of Kia’s U.S. sales and marketing, said today after a speech to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. “There was never any question.”

Sterling, a real-estate billionaire who bought the National Basketball Association team in 1981, told a woman in audio that was posted on the website TMZ on April 25 that he didn’t want her bringing black people to the team’s games and didn’t approve of her posting a photo with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson to Instagram. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling four days later, fined him $2.5 million and said he’d urge the other owners to force him to sell.

Kia decided to cut its ties with the Clippers on April 27, Sprague said. The Seoul-based company said that week that it was suspending its advertising and sponsorship activities with the team and in a statement called Sterling’s remarks “offensive and reprehensible.”

Scott McKee, a spokesman for Kia’s U.S. unit, also said last month that the automaker would “continue to monitor” the situation with the team “and reactivate at the appropriate time.”

Asked if Kia would like to see Sterling stripped of his ownership of the team, Sprague said today that “we back the NBA and the actions that they are taking.”

Kia plans to remain a sponsor of the NBA, he said. 

“It will continue to be a big part of how we go to market,” Sprague said. “The NBA has had tremendous growth. They’ve broadened their reach to new demographics. It’s something we hope will continue for quite a while.”

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Kia Motors Corp. had an "easy decision" to sever its relationship with the Los Angeles Clippers after racially charged comments by team owner Donald Sterling became public, a U.S. executive for the automaker said.
Clippers, Sterling, Kia, NBA
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2014-52-15
Thursday, 15 May 2014 03:52 PM
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