NBA players union slams "alarming" Orlando Magic donation to DeSantis backer

New York, New York – The National Basketball Players Association on Thursday criticized a recent $50,000 donation made by the Orlando Magic to a political group backing Republican candidate Ron DeSantis.

The National Basketball Players Association said the donation "does not represent player support" for Ron DeSantis.
The National Basketball Players Association said the donation "does not represent player support" for Ron DeSantis.  © Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The NBPA said the Magic's donation to a group backing Florida governor DeSantis' presidential bid was "alarming" and did not represent player support.

"A political contribution from the Orlando Magic is alarming given recent comments of its beneficiary," the NBPA said in its statement.

"NBA Governors, players and personnel have the right to express their personal political views, including through donations and statements.

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"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."

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Members of the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets kneel around a Black Lives Matter sign during an NBA basketball game in 2020.
Members of the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets kneel around a Black Lives Matter sign during an NBA basketball game in 2020.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

DeSantis has drawn criticism in recent weeks over his support for new guidelines introduced in Florida which dictate how African American history should be taught in schools.

One passage of the new guidelines, approved on July 19, suggests that some enslaved people gained "benefits" from slavery because they were able to learn skills.

The Magic have defended the donation, saying it was made on May 19 – before DeSantis formally launched his presidential campaign.

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News of the donation drew criticism from New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr.

"So the Orlando Magic 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?'" Nance posted on Twitter.

The NBA is over 70% Black, but has no Black team owners.

Cover photo: Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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