Updated: Crisis PR specialist Sitrick and Company advised the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers after TMZ.com published a recording of team owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks.
The firm said it "only represented [the team] for a very short time" and resigned the account on Sunday morning due to a conflict.
The controversial recording, along with a second, longer version published by Deadspin.com, vaulted the story to the forefront of national media over the weekend, even drawing criticism from President Barack Obama in Malaysia on April 27.
"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?" Sterling says in the recording, which was reported to be a conversation with his girlfriend, Va. Stiviano.
Mike Sitrick and Terry Fahn of Sitrick initially advised the Clippers' PR team, which is led by VP of communications Seth Burton.
Clippers president Andy Roeser released a statement after the TMZ report went live late on April 25 that included an indirect apology from Sterling and said Stiviano vowed revenge after the Sterling family (reportedly Sterling's estranged wife) hit her with a $1.8M embezzlement lawsuit.
"Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings," Roeser said. "He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them."
Sterling's comments on the recording have drawn widespread condemnation from NBA players -- active and retired -- including his own team.
"When people -- when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk," Obama said in a press briefing with the Malaysian prime minister on April 27. Obama noted the NBA is "steeped in African American culture," adding that "I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned resolving this."
The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, said the league is conducting an investigation. The recording's release coincides with the NBA playoff season.