The Orlando Magic is catching some heat from the NBA players’ union after it was reported the Florida-based basketball team donated $50,000 to Don’t Back Down Inc., the Super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign.
Orlando Magic appear to be the first NBA team… ever? to back a presidential candidate: $50k to Ron DeSantis's Super PAC
I asked spox to clarify if donation should instead be attributed to owner Richard DeVos; response was "we don’t comment publicly on political contributions" pic.twitter.com/9B5yuvIUF3
— Alex Shultz (@AlexShultz) August 1, 2023
The uproar comes, in part, from DeSantis defending his state’s new public school curriculum that declares some Black people “benefited” from being enslaved.
Here’s the statement from the National Basketball Players Association:
A political contribution from the Orlando Magic is alarming given recent comments and policies of its beneficiary.
NBA governors, players and personnel have the right to express their personal political views, including through donations and statements. However. if contributions are made on behalf of an entire team, using money earned through the labor of its employees, it is incumbent upon the team governors to consider the diverse values and perspectives of staff and players.
The Magic’s donation does not represent player support for DeSantis.
A statement from the NBPA on the Orlando Magic’s recent political donations.
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) August 3, 2023
On Wednesday, the Orlando Magic issued a statement regarding the $50,000 donation to DeSantis’ Super PAC, “Never Back Down Inc.”
“To clarify, this gift was given before Governor DeSantis entered the presidential race. It was given as a Florida business in support of a Florida governor for the continued prosperity of Central Florida.”
It’s worth noting that the Orlando Magic’s team governor is Dan DeVos, whose sister-in-law, Betsy DeVos, served as Secretary of Education in Donald Trump’s administration.
Among those raising their voices are New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr., who tweeted: “So the @OrlandoMagic who have a majority black roster, a black head coach, and a black GM decided it was a good idea to support a man that claims that slavery had personal benefits for the enslaved?”
So the @OrlandoMagic who have a majority black roster, a black head coach, and a black GM decided it was a good idea to support a man that claims that slavery had personal benefits for the enslaved? https://t.co/LI3FAXbMxb
— Larry Nance (@Larrydn22) August 2, 2023