Ralph Lauren drops Justin Thomas after homophobic slur during tournament

The world No 3 apologised after making the slur following a missed putt last week at Kapalua

Jack Rathborn
Saturday 16 January 2021 10:09
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Ralph Lauren have ended their relationship with Justin Thomas after the American was caught making a homophobic slur during a tournament in Hawaii last week. 

Thomas admitted his mistake was “inexcusable” after a missed putt during the third round of the Sentry Tour of Champions in Hawaii.

The Ryder Cup star has worn the brand’s clothing since turning professional, with the 27-year-old winning the US PGA Championship and FedEx Cup in 2017, as well as rising to No 1 in the world on two occasions.

Ralph Lauren confirmed the company was “disheartened” by use of "language entirely inconsistent with our values".

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“We believe in the dignity of all people, regardless of age, race, gender identity, ethnicity, political affiliation or sexual orientation,” Ralph Lauren said in a statement. “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.”

The American designer added that they hope Thomas “does the hard and necessary work in order to partner with us again”.

Thomas, who is playing in Abu Dhabi next week on the European Tour, admitted he was “extremely embarrassed” by his mistake. 

“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. Unfortunately, I did it and I have to own up to it and I’m very apologetic.”

While Ralph Lauren reiterated that his behaviour “conflicted” with their “inclusive culture.”

“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’s statement continued.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LBGTQ advocacy group in the country, last year designated Ralph Lauren as “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.”

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