Players union decries $50K donation by Magic in support of DeSantis

Players union decries $50K donation by Magic in support of DeSantis

The National Basketball Players Association denounced a $50,000 contribution made in recent months by the Orlando Magic toward a super PAC that supports the presidential campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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 the recipient.

DeSantis drew widespread criticism from both Democrats and Republicans following the July introduction of new Florida education standards, according to Politico’s Brakkton Booker. Among the overhauled requirements, middle-school educators must now teach students that “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

At a campaign press conference last month in Utah, DeSantis defended Florida’s controversial new curriculum, arguing slaves eventually “parlayed” learned techniques into other areas in life, according to The Independent’s John Bowden.

Filings on the Federal Election Commission show the Magic’s contribution to the super PAC “Never Back Down Inc.” with a receipt date of June 26 – nearly a month after he announced his presidential campaign on May 24. However, the team’s chief communications officer, Joel Glass, said it was actually made on May 19.

“It was given as a Florida business in support of a Florida governor for the continued prosperity of Central Florida,” Glass told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

The $50,000 gift could also have potential ramifications involving the team’s main jersey sponsor in Disney. The media conglomerate, which operates the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando in Florida, legally feuded with DeSantis earlier this year as a result of the company’s public disapproval of the Parental Rights in Education Act – colloquially known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The Magic are owned exclusively by the DeVos family, who purchased the franchise for $85 million in September 1991.

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