American clothing brand Ralph Lauren terminated the sponsorship of Justin Thomas after the golfer was heard swearing homophobic slur during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Thomas, who is currently the world no 3, had used the derogatory term for him after missing a par putt on the fourth hole at Kapalua in the previous week. The American golfer had also rendered an apology for his inappropriate choice of words.
“There’s just 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’m extremely embarrassed,” Thomas told the Golf Channel.
However, the clothing brand seemed displeased with Thomas’ mis-conduct as they terminated all ties with the golfer.
In a statement, the American clothing brand said: “We are disheartened by Mr Thomas’s recent language, which is entirely inconsistent with our values.
“While we acknowledge that he has apologised and recognises 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.”
Thomas is also expected to be penalised by the PGA Tour for the incident. The PGA Tour said in a statement: “As he expressed after his round, we agree that Justin’s comment was unacceptable.”
In a similar incident in March last year, the PGA Tour player Scott Piercy was dropped by his sponsors after sharing a homophobic meme on Instagram about Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.