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Ralph Lauren 'discontinues' sponsorship of Justin Thomas after slur caught on microphone

January 15, 2021
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Andrew Redington

Ralph Lauren has “discontinued” its sponsorship of Justin Thomas after Thomas uttered a homophobic slur during last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions.

“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 profusely apologized for his mistake, which was picked up by an on-course microphone.

“It’s inexcusable,” he said. “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. It's not who I am, it's not the kind of person that I am or anything that I do.”

In February, Ralph Lauren was named a "Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality" by the Human Rights Campaign.

Thomas, 27, has been sponsored by Ralph Lauren since he turned professional in 2013. The winner of 13 PGA Tour events and current world No. 3, he is scheduled to play in next week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the European Tour.