CBS Sports reports:
After initially declining to publicly comment, the Orlando Magic issued a statement on Wednesday regarding their recent $50,000 donation to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Super PAC, “Never Back Down Inc.”
“To clarify, this gift was given before Governor DeSantis entered the presidential race,” a Magic spokesperson said. “It was given as a Florida business in support of a Florida governor for the continued prosperity of Central Florida.”
According to records from the Federal Elections Commission, the donation from the Magic was received on June 26, after DeSantis had announced his run for president in 2024 on May 24. However, the team indicated that the check was dated on May 19, prior to DeSantis’ announcement.
Popular Information reports:
The Orlando Magic, Central Florida’s NBA franchise, publicly supports the LGBTQ community. The team declared its March 21, 2023 contest against the Washington Wizards as “Pride Night” to “celebrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and unity with the LGBTQ+ community.” The game featured a performance by the “Orlando Gay Chorus,” “pride-themed donuts, ice cream, and specialty cocktails,” and honored local LGBTQ activist Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet. The team also created a special rainbow-colored Magic t-shirt.
And yet on June 26, 2023, the Orlando Magic donated $50,000 to Never Back Down, the Super PAC supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) presidential campaign. Direct corporate donations to federal candidates are prohibited. But a donation to Never Back Down is just as good as a donation to DeSantis’ campaign. The Super PAC has “effectively morphed into an arm of the campaign — even hosting DeSantis on recent bus tours through Iowa.”
As I noted yesterday, the Orlando Magic is owned by the family of former Trump cabinet member Betsy DeVos. Disney is the team’s primary corporate sponsor, with their logo emblazoned all over their home arena and players’ uniforms. That home arena, the Amway Center, is named for the scammy multi-level marketing company founded by the late Richard DeVos. As noted in depth at the second link above, the DeVos family foundation has donated heavily to anti-LGBTQ hate groups and ballot measures.
New: The Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) recently donated $50,000 to Ron DeSantis’ 2024 Super PAC, according to new records. The team publicly claims to support the LGBT community.
They’re claiming the donation wasn’t political.
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) August 3, 2023
Orlando Magic appear to be the first NBA team… ever? to back a presidential candidate: $50k to Ron DeSantis’s Super PAC
I asked spox to clarify if donation should instead be attributed to owner Richard DeVos; response was “we don’t comment publicly on political contributions” pic.twitter.com/9B5yuvIUF3
— Alex Shultz (@AlexShultz) August 1, 2023