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Orlando Magic's donation to DeSantis PAC: Draws NBA Criticism

Ron Desantis Holding a basket Ball

By Gotcha Media | | August, 04 2023

The recent financial contribution of the Orlando Magic to Never Back Down, a super PAC staunchly supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has ignited a wave of controversy. This move has not gone unnoticed by the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), who have voiced their criticism openly. The intersection of sports and politics has been thrust into the spotlight, with DeSantis' Super PAC controversy becoming a focal point of discussion.

In response to the NBA criticism, DeSantis took to social media, posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, "It appears the NBA took a break from protesting our anthem and bending the knee to Communist China to chirp about my policies."

According to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) report, the Orlando Magic donation to the

DeSantis Super PAC amounted to $50,000 in late June. The NBPA statement on Orlando Magic's donation expressed concern and described it as "alarming" given the recent actions and statements of the recipient.

Related: Orlando Magic gave $50,000 to Super PAC backing DeSantis

The donation was initially reported by an SFGate journalist. However, a spokesperson for the Orlando Magic later clarified to The Hill that the contribution was made on May 19, a few days before DeSantis officially launched his presidential campaign.

Joe Glass, the chief communications officer for Orlando Magic, explained, “To clarify, Governor DeSantis received this gift before running for president. It was presented by a Florida corporation to support a governor for Central Florida's success."

Related: DeSantis seeks to fundraise off Orlando Magic donation controversy

At the time of the Orlando Magic donation, DeSantis was widely expected to run for president, and Never Back Down had been reserving TV time in early primary states since at least April.

The Orlando Magic is owned by RDV Sports Inc., which was formerly run by the late billionaire and GOP donor Richard DeVos. The DeVos family, known for their connection to former President Trump as Betsy DeVos was appointed by Trump as his education secretary, has yet to donate to a 2024 presidential candidate, according to a representative.

In recent weeks, DeSantis's presidential campaign has faced criticism for restructuring and cutting 38 staff members amid low polling numbers. Last week, a staff member was fired for allegedly creating a pro-DeSantis video featuring the Republican candidate at the center of a sonnenrad, a symbol used in Nazi propaganda.

According to a recent Morning Consult poll, DeSantis trails significantly behind former President Trump among Republican primary voters, with only 15% support compared to Trump's 58%. As these controversies continue to unfold, it remains to be seen what further revelations will come to light.

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