The National Basketball Players Association called the Orlando Magic’s donation to a super PAC backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “alarming given recent comments and policies of its beneficiary” in a statement released Thursday.
The team’s $50,000 donation to Never Back Down Inc. was received on June 26, Federal Election Commission records show. SFGate’s Alex Shultz first reported the donation.
The NBPA said “governors, players and personnel have the right to express their personal political views, including through donations and statements” in Thursday’s release, adding: “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.”
A statement from the NBPA on the Orlando Magic’s recent political donations.
Official statement: https://t.co/6fmRZCxVzG pic.twitter.com/JQEk0V4Ztl
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) August 3, 2023
A team spokesman said the gift “was given before Governor DeSantis entered the presidential race” in a statement Wednesday, per multiple reports. The statement continued: “It was given as a Florida business in support of a Florida governor for the continued prosperity of Central Florida.”
DeSantis, 44, officially announced he was joining the 2024 presidential race on May 24. According to multiple reports, the Magic said the donation check was dated May 19.
The Magic are owned by the DeVos family, which has deep conservative ties. Betsy DeVos, former president Donald Trump’s education secretary, is the daughter-in-law of late Magic chairman Richard DeVos.
DeSantis’ presidential campaign announcement came just over a month after the second-term governor signed a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy into law in Florida, which followed anti-LGBTQ+ laws including restrictions on gender-affirming medical care, drag shows and more. Additionally, the Florida Department of Education informed the College Board, which administers Advanced Placement exams, that it would not allow AP African American studies to be offered in its high schools earlier this year.
(Photo: Jerome Miron / USA Today)