Ralph Lauren has dropped its 7-year sponsorship of golfer Justin Thomas after the world’s #3 player responded to missing a putt at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Saturday by yelling the word “faggot.” Thomas was heard on his microphone and the slur broadcast on NBC.
“We are disheartened by Mr. Thomas’s recent language, which is entirely inconsistent with our values,” said the fashion and lifestyle brand in a statement (read in full below).
Thomas later apologized: “It’s inexcusable. First off I just apologize. There’s no excuse. I’m a grown man. There’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It’s terrible. I’m extremely embarrassed. It’s not who I am. It’s not the kind of person that I am. …. I need to do better. … I deeply apologize to everybody and anybody who I offended and I’ll be better because of it.”
Ralph Lauren’s statement:
At the Ralph Lauren Corporation, we believe in the dignity of all people, regardless of age, race, gender identity, ethnicity, political affiliation or sexual orientation. This is part of our longstanding commitment to foster cultures of belonging – in the workplace and in communities around the world.
We are disheartened by Mr. Thomas’s recent language, which is entirely inconsistent with our values. 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.
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.