Last week, golfer Justin Thomas came under fire for using a homophobic slur during a golf tournament. Now, one of Thomas’ sponsors, Polo Ralph Lauren, has ended their relationship with the golfer.
Ralph Lauren has sponsored Thomas, who is currently ranked No. 3 in the world, since he turned professional in 2013. After missing a short putt at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, Thomas used the slur out of anger. Clips of the incident circulated around social media soon after the incident occurred.
In a company statement released on Friday, Ralph Lauren announced that they have “discontinued” their sponsorship with the PGA star.
“In reflecting on the responsibility we have to all of our stakeholders, we have decided to discontinue our sponsorship of Mr. Thomas at this time. As we make this decision, our hope is that Mr. Thomas does the hard and necessary work in order to partner with us again–truly examining this incident, learning, growing and ultimately using his platform to promote inclusion,” the statement says.
Last year, the Human Rights Campaign named Ralph Lauren a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” The American fashion company has taken the matter very seriously and called Thomas’s actions “inconsistent” with their values.
“We are disheartened by Mr. Thomas’s recent language, which is entirely inconsistent with our values,” the company statement reads. “While we acknowledge that he has apologized and recognizes the severity of his words, he is a paid ambassador of our brand and his actions conflict with the inclusive culture that we strive to uphold.”
Justin Thomas Apologizes, Calls His Actions ‘Inexcusable’
Since the controversy over his usage of the homophobic slur, Justin Thomas has apologized for his actions. He called his words “inexcusable” and said “it’s not who I am” in an on-air apology with the Golf Channel.
“It’s inexcusable. First off, I just apologize. I’m an adult. I’m a grown man, there’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It’s terrible. I’m extremely embarrassed,” Thomas explained. “It’s not who I am, it’s not the kind of person that I am or anything that I do.”
Thomas is facing a fine from the PGA for his usage of the slur while on the golf course. Additionally, the PGA released a short statement on the matter.
“As he expressed after his round, we agree that Justin’s comment was unacceptable,” the PGA’s statement said.
Thomas is one of the top golfers in the world. He has 13 PGA Tour event wins, including one major – the PGA Championship. The former number one player in the world will tee off next week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.