So the @OrlandoMagic who have a majority black roster, a black head coach, and a black GM decided it was a good idea to support a man that claims that slavery had personal benefits for the enslaved? https://t.co/LI3FAXbMxb
— Larry Nance (@Larrydn22) August 2, 2023
The Magic are owned by the DeVos family, with Dan DeVos currently serving as the team’s chairman. Back in 2016, the team also donated to a PAC known as “Conservative Results.”
In the wake of severe criticism from many others besides Nance, the Magic issued a statement. In an effort to quell the furor, the team indicated that the donation came shortly before DeSantis announced his run for the presidency in May.
NEW: From Orlando Magic on donation to Gov. DeSantis Super PAC:
"To clarify, this 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.”
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) August 2, 2023
Nance’s reference to DeSantis about slavery stems from the the latter’s efforts to change Florida teaching curriculum in connection with African-American history. Public school teachers must now instruct students that slaves “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
Despite being on the receiving end of criticism over the new curriculum, DeSantis has thus far refused to consider making changes.
DeSantis has also been involved with other controversies in the past few years, most notably with the Disney Corp. In addition, his signing of a bill that critics have charged is homophobic has made him a lightning rod for controversy.
After being re-elected to a second term as Florida’s governor last November, DeSantis was seen as one of the top candidates for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. However, , his poll numbers have trailed far behind former president Donald Trump.
There’s no indication yet how the Magic fan base will react to this news. In all likelihood, many fans will see this controversy as an aberration and focus on the 2023-24 team.
Last year, the Magic finished 34-48, continuing a rut that dates back to the 2012-13 season. Since then, the team has made only two playoff appearances that ended quickly and had one season above .500, that being reached barely with a 42-40 mark.