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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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NBPA Calls Orlando Magic Donation to DeSantis PAC ‘Alarming’

  • The Magic’s $50,000 donation to DeSantis-supporting PAC comes as the Florida governor feuds with Disney.
  • NBA Players Association says the donation "does not represent player support for the recipient."
DeSantis Magic
Thomas Bender, Kim Klement-USA TODAY Network

The DeVos family’s donation to a political action committee supporting a Republican presidential campaign was unsurprising given the family’s support of GOP causes for years. 

But the fact it came directly from the Orlando Magic — a team owned by Dan DeVos — coupled with the fact it went to a PAC backing Ron DeSantis led the NBA Players Association to call the $50,000 donation “alarming” on Thursday. 

“NBA governors, players and personnel have the right to express their personal political views, including through donations and statements,” the NBPA said in a statement. “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.”

Earlier this week, Florida-based reporter Jason Garcia was the first to report on the donation to the Never Back Down Super PAC. 

FOS confirmed the donation via Federal Election Commission filings — and it wasn’t the first political contribution that came from the Magic. There have been three others since Dan Devos’ father, Richard, purchased the franchise in 1991. 

Richard DeVos, who died in 2018, co-founded Amway, and the family has an estimated net worth of $5.4 billion. Betsy DeVos, Dan DeVos’ sister-in-law, served as Secretary of Education in Donald Trump’s administration.

As Florida governor, DeSantis has been in an ongoing political feud with The Walt Disney Company — one of the NBA’s biggest partners — over Disney’s support of gender inclusion policies. DeSantis also signed off on a state law to limit education of sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida schools.

In May, Disney killed its plan to build a $1 billion office complex in Orlando over its feud with DeSantis. 

“No member of the DeVos family has endorsed or offered financial support to any 2024 Presidential candidate at this point,” DeVos family spokesperson Nick Wasmiller said in a statement to ABC News. “They are undecided.”

Not only does Disney own longtime NBA broadcast partners ESPN and ABC, but the NBA chose to host its pandemic bubble tournament at Disney World in Orlando in 2020. After previously operating outside of Florida’s state laws, DeSantis recently moved to control Walt Disney World and end the venue’s diversity and inclusion programs. 

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