(ORLANDO, FL) — The NBA’s Orlando Magic donated $50,000 to Never Back Down, the super PAC supporting Ron DeSantis’ presidential bid, according to financial records filed by this week by the political action committee.
A spokesman for the team, which is owned by the DeVos family, who have supported many conservative causes and politicians, tried to nix suggestions that the Magic supported DeSantis’ White House ambitions, telling ABC News in a statement that “the gift was given before Governor DeSantis entered the presidential race.”
“It was given as a Florida business in support of a Florida governor for the continued prosperity of Central Florida,” the spokesman, Joel Glass, said.
According to Glass, the donation check was dated May 19, five days before DeSantis announced his presidential campaign.
The PAC’s filing with the Federal Election Commission indicates the donation was registered on June 26.
The DeVos family sought Wednesday to distance itself from DeSantis’ run for the GOP presidential nomination next year.
Nick Wasmiller, a spokesman for the family, told ABC News in a statement: “No member of the DeVos family has endorsed or offered financial support to any 2024 Presidential candidate at this point. They are undecided.”
An aide to Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education under former President Donald Trump, told ABC News, “The team made a corporate donation as a Florida business to the Florida governor. You should not read anything into [the donation] vis a vis the presidential race or the DeVos family.”
In a statement on Thursday, the National Basketball Players Association called the donation “alarming.”
“NBA governors, players and personnel have the right to express their personal political views, including through donations and statements,” the players’ association said. “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.”
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