The NBA player’s union, NBPA, has called out the Orlando Magic’s donation to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) presidential campaign, referring to the donation as “alarming”.
“A political contribution from the Orlando Magic is alarming given recent comments and policies of its beneficiary,” the union said in a statement on Thursday.
The NBPA, for which New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum serves as president, added in their statement that league members have the right to express their political viewpoints, but noted that franchises shouldn’t be using funds earned by players to make donations.
“NBA governors, players and personnel have the right to express their personal political views, including through donations and statements,” the union added. “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 the recipient.”
The union’s statement comes a day after news broke that the Magic, the franchise that launched the careers of NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, made a $50,000 donation to a politician action committee (PAC) backing DeSantis’ campaign in June.
According to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing, the Florida-based NBA franchise made the donation to Never Back Down, a pro-Desantis PAC.
A spokesperson for the Magic told The Hill that the donation was a gift made to the governor before he entered the 2024 race. The spokesperson said, “It was given as a Florida business in support of a Florida governor for the continued prosperity of Central Florida,” noting that the contribution was dated and delivered on May 19, not June 26.
The franchise, founded in 1989, is owned by RDV Sports Inc., a corporation set up by late team owner, billionaire, and GOP donor Richard DeVos.
“No member of the DeVos family has decided to endorse or offer financial support to any 2024 Presidential candidate at this point,” DeVos family spokesperson Nick Wasmiller previously said in a statement to The Hill.