Golf: Justin Thomas loses sponsor after muttering slur

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 17 2021 10:15 AM

Justin Thomas hits his tee shot on the 10th hole during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort - The Plantation Course. Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Justin Thomas has lost longtime sponsor Ralph Lauren as a result of voicing a homophobic slur on the course.

Last weekend, Thomas apologized following the third round of the Sentry Tournament for Champions in Hawaii after a microphone picked up his comment during the television broadcast. He directed the slur toward himself after missing a short par putt on No. 4.

In a statement released Friday, Ralph Lauren said it no longer would support the 27-year-old Thomas.

"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."

The company left open the possibility that it could team up again with Thomas, who has represented Ralph Lauren since 2013.

"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 said.

In his apology last weekend, Thomas vowed to do just that.

"There's absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It's terrible. I'm extremely embarrassed," said Thomas, the No. 3-ranked golfer in the world. "It's not who I am. It's not the kind of person that I am. But unfortunately I did it and I have to own up to it and I'm very apologetic.

"Like I said, it's inexcusable. I'm speechless. It's bad. There's no other way to put it. I need to do better. I need to be better. It's definitely a learning experience. I deeply apologize to anyone and everybody who I offended and I'll be better because of it."

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