Justin Thomas loses Ralph Lauren as sponsor after anti-gay slur
World No. 3 Justin Thomas, after his use of an anti-gay slur during last week’s Tournament of Champions, lost Ralph Lauren as one of his sponsors on Friday.
“We are disheartened by Mr. Thomas’s recent language, which is entirely inconsistent with our values,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Thomas used the slur last Saturday after missing a 6-foot par putt on the 4th hole at the Plantation Course at Kapalua, and it was picked up by Golf Channel microphones. Thomas apologized after his round.
“It’s inexcusable,” Thomas said. “I, first off, I just apologize. I mean, there’s no excuse. 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 mean, I’m extremely embarrassed. It’s not who I am, it’s not the kind of person that I am or anything that I do, but it’s, unfortunately, I did it and I have to own up to it and I’m very apologetic.”
Thomas is not playing this week’s PGA Tour event, the Sony Open. He is scheduled to play next week in the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
A message to Excel Sports Management, which represents Thomas, was not immediately returned.