The NBA Players Association issued a statement saying it was “alarming” that the Orlando Magic donated $50,000 to a super PAC supporting Ron DeSantis for president, “given recent comments and policies of its beneficiary.”
The statement, which was posted Thursday on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, by the basketball players union, continued: “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 donation was listed on the super PAC’s campaign finance documents as coming from the “Orlando Magic, Ltd.” in June with the donor’s address as a suite number within the Amway Center, the team’s arena. Dan DeVos, brother-in-law to former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, is the chairperson of the basketball team.
“The Magic’s donation does not represent player support for the recipient,” the union’s statement concluded.
On Friday, DeSantis responded on social media by criticizing the NBA.
“It appears the NBA took a break from protesting our anthem and bending the knee to Communist China to chirp about my policies,” he said.
Joel Glass, chief communications officer for the Orlando Magic, said the donation to the Never Back Down super PAC — which was formed in February with the goal of supporting a DeSantis presidential candidacy — was dated and delivered on May 19, before DeSantis officially announced his bid for the White House.
“It was given as a Florida business in support of a Florida governor for the continued prosperity of Central Florida,” Glass said in an email.