Dave Zirin’s recent Nation article exposed the ways that the owner of the Orlando Magic, whose team is currently facing off against the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA title, is using his team as the sporting arm of a radical right-wing empire whose reach extends from makeup to militias to reparative gay therapy. My colleague Habiba Alcindor penned the following Open Letter to the Orlando Sentinel. Please feel free to send it on to both the paper’s editor and chief sportswriter.
As a politically conscious basketball fan, I was shocked by revelations about Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos detailed in Dave Zirin’s recent article in The Nation, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Lakers.
While the National Basketball Association portrays Rich DeVos as a benevolent “caretaker” who considers “the real owners of the NBA franchise” to be “the Central Florida community and the loyal Magic fans,” the stark fact remains that DeVos is a billionaire reactionary who uses the millions of dollars generated by his sports team to fund a number of partisan causes. Among those listed in the article are “reparative gay therapy…antievolution politics…Focus on the Family, the Foundation for Traditional Values, the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation” and the American Enterprise Institute.”
In addition, the Amway empire founded and owned by DeVos has been investigated for violating campaign finance laws. Massive donations to the Bush campaign and other Republican politicians have translated into tax breaks for Amway and its employees.
I believe that your newspaper has a responsibility to inform fans around the nation that the talent and heart of their sports heroes on the Orlando Magic as well as their own love of the game are being converted into hard cash used to fund a right-wing political agenda.
The citizens of Orlando should also be made aware that the hundreds of millions of dollars they are contributing as taxpayers to the construction of a new stadium will help DeVos make his Christian fundamentalist dreams of winning the “Culture War” come true.
Please consider publishing an article that would investigate Zirin’s claims, address NBA propaganda and let the public know exactly what its tax and entertainment dollars are supporting.