Airline sponsor drops Los Angeles Clippers

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Virgin America Airlines is pulling its sponsorship of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Los Angeles Clippers after controversial comments about race allegedly made by the team's owner became public. 

The Clippers' owner, Donald Sterling, is alleged to have told his girlfriend that he did not want her to bring African-Americans to the team's games after she was pictured with former Los Angeles Lakers' player Magic Johnson. 

Virgin America said it was pulling its sponsorship of the team because it did not want to be associated with the controversial statements. 


"While we continue to support the fans and the players, Virgin America has made the decision to end its sponsorship of the L.A. Clippers," a spokesperson for the airline said in a statement to The Hill. 

Virgin America is one of several corporate sponsors that have reportedly ended their association with the Clippers after Sterling's alleged comments were made public. 

The inflammatory statements were first reported by TMZ after the gossip website released tapes it obtained that appeared to show Sterling making the comments to his girlfriend. 

Clippers players staged a pre-game protest of the comments by wearing their shirts inside out during warm-ups before their playoff game Sunday so the team's logo would not be displayed. 

Players also wore black arm-bands during the game to protest Sterling's statements. 

The NBA has said that it is investigating the veracity of the tapes containing the owner's alleged racist comments.