Orlando Magic’s Political Donation Is ‘Alarming,’ Players’ Union Says

The N.B.A. gamers’ union criticized the Orlando Magic on Thursday for its $50,000 donation to an excellent PAC supportive of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican who’s vying for the celebration’s presidential nomination for the 2024 election.

“A political contribution from the Orlando Magic is alarming given recent comments and policies of its beneficiary,” the union, the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation, stated in an announcement.

The $50,000 examine, which was made public this week by monetary disclosures, was dated Might 19, in line with a spokesperson for the Magic, days earlier than DeSantis introduced his run. It was the primary recognized occasion by which an N.B.A. group instantly donated to a bunch allied with a presidential candidate — or one, like DeSantis, who was extensively anticipated to run for the workplace. The Magic are owned by the conservative DeVos household.

The group declined to touch upon Thursday, and the DeSantis marketing campaign and the tremendous PAC, By no means Again Down, didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

“N.B.A. governors, players and personnel have the right to express their personal political views, including through donations and statements,” the union’s assertion continued. “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 donation has positioned the league in an uncomfortable highlight. A number of of the league’s initiatives — such because the endorsement of increasing voting rights and the help of expunging some legal data — are stances DeSantis has opposed as governor. The N.B.A. and W.N.B.A. got here out in help of abortion rights, whereas DeSantis signed some of the restrictive abortion legal guidelines within the nation.

As well as, DeSantis has come underneath criticism lately for the overhaul to Florida’s African American historical past requirements, which critics have stated softens the brutality of slavery. Specifically, the requirements say that college students must be instructed that “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

This can be a delicate concern for the N.B.A., by which the overwhelming majority of gamers are Black.

“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?” Larry Nance Jr., a participant for the New Orleans Pelicans who’s on the board of the league’s social justice coalition, said on social media on Wednesday. The Magic’s donation got here earlier than Florida unveiled the modifications to its African American historical past requirements.

A league spokesman, Mike Bass, stated on Wednesday, “Team governors make their own decisions on the political contributions they make and we respect the right of members of the N.B.A. family to express their political views.”

Since Adam Silver took over as N.B.A. commissioner in February 2014, he has principally welcomed political activism from gamers — and gone additional in some situations, similar to pulling the 2017 All-Star Sport from North Carolina to protest a state legislation that eradicated anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender individuals. After a player-led work stoppage through the 2020 playoffs, the N.B.A. created a social justice coalition to deal with points that disproportionately have an effect on Black individuals, like legal justice reform. However a number of of the N.B.A.’s house owners often donate to politicians who’re towards the reforms the league has backed.

“The Magic’s donation does not represent player support for the recipient,” the union stated.

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