By Aaron Smith and Chris Isidore @CNNMoneyApril 28, 2014: 6:57 PM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
The sponsor backlash against Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling is in full swing.
At least 12 sponsors said Monday they were dropping or suspending sponsorships with the team following allegations of racist comments by team owner Donald Sterling.
The first to act was the nationwide auto dealership CarMax.
"CarMax(KMX) finds the statements attributed to the Clippers' owner completely unacceptable," CarMax said in a statement. "These views directly conflict with CarMax's culture of respect for all individuals. While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for nine years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship."
Virgin America said in a statement: "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."
Another sponsor, insurer State Farm, called Sterling's reported comments "offensive," and said it "will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization."
State Farm also said that it has "a great relationship" with the Clippers' star point guard Chris Paul and will continue with the TV advertising campaign that features him.
The corporate backlash echoes last year's Paula Deen scandal, when sponsors dropped the Southern cuisine superstar after she admitted to having once used a racist slur. But with the help of a strong fan base and a new investor, she launched a new restaurant.
Similarly, "Duck Dynasty" TV star Phil Robertson made racist and homophobic comments in an interview with GQ Magazine that also set off a firestorm. But the duck hunting magnate managed to pull through it unscathed.
A&E temporarily suspended him from the reality TV show, but brought him back amid fan backlash. The scandal did not interfere with his release of a line of guns through Mossberg.
--CNN's Katie Lobosco and Justin Lear contributed to this report