On Friday, the National Basketball Players Association issued a statement regarding the Orlando Magic's recent $50,000 donation to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' super PAC, "Never Back Down."
From the NBPA:
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.
After initially declining to publicly comment on the donation, the Magic issued a statement on Wednesday.
"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. The team indicated that the check was dated May 19, prior to DeSantis' official announcement, but after several reports that he would run for president. (The previous day, the New York Times reported that DeSantis told supporters and donors that he was the only person who could win the Republican primary and the election, during a call organized by his super PAC.)
The Magic have had a partnership with Disney since 2010, and the company has been the team's official jersey sponsor since 2017. DeSantis has made attacking Disney a central component of his political activities in Florida.
As an organization, the Magic had made three previous donations according to records from the FEC: $500 in 2016 to a super PAC called "Conservative Results," $2,000 in 2014 to a super PAC called "Maverick PAC USA," and $500 in 2000 to Linda Chapin for congress.
The late Richard DeVos purchased the Magic in 1991 and the franchise has been in the family ever since. Richard's son, Dan DeVos, is the current chairman. Dan's sister-in-law, Betsy DeVos, is the former chair of the Michigan Republican Party and served as the U.S. Secretary of Education under former President Donald Trump from 2017-2021.
The Magic went 34-48 last season and finished in 13th place in the Eastern Conference.