UPDATE 4-NBA-Sponsors flee Clippers as league announcement approaches

Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:25pm EDT
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* Sterling has not issued statement over alleged comments

* Several companies pull sponsorship of Clippers

* Lengthy ban widely seen as likeliest outcome

* Clippers want to make "right decisions", says coach (Adds further details, Rivers quotes)

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES, April 28 (Reuters) - The National Basketball Association faced mounting pressure on Monday to impose a harsh punishment on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his alleged racist comments as several of the team's sponsors pulled their backing.

Sterling is being investigated by the NBA over comments he allegedly made that have since sparked widespread outrage in the United States, and the league will hold a news conference in New York City on Tuesday to discuss developments.

The NBA's brief announcement on Monday came shortly after some of the team's sponsors began withdrawing their support of the Clippers while Sterling's own family distanced themselves from him.

Auto dealer CarMax, a nine-year sponsor of the Clippers, was first to announce it was ending its association and was followed by Virgin America, State Farm, Kia Motors America, music mogul P. Diddy's water brand, AQUAHydrate, Red Bull and Yokohama Tire.   Continued...