Ralph Lauren has ended its endorsement deal with PGA Tour player Justin Thomas after his use of a homophobic slur at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, the company announced Friday.
The lauded designer brand released a statement Friday evening, saying it was “disheartened” by Thomas’s language one week after his utterance of the slur was picked up by a hot mic following a missed putt during the third round at Kapalua. The statement went on to say his actions were “entirely inconsistent with our values.”
Thomas, 27, apologized for his language after his round ended, saying he had “no excuse.”
“I’m an adult, I’m a grown man. There’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that,” Thomas told Todd Lewis of Golf Channel. “It’s terrible. I’m extremely embarrassed. It’s not who I am. It’s not the kind of person that I am. But it’s. … unfortunately I did it and I have to own up to it and I’m very apologetic.”
Ralph Lauren acknowledged Thomas’ apology, ultimately terminating the partnership, but left the door open for the 13-time PGA Tour winner to partner with the company again after he “does the hard and necessary work” to grow from the incident.
Thomas, who won three times on Tour last season, launched his collaboration with Ralph Lauren in June 2019.
“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 statement read.
“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, who finished third at Kapalua, is not playing this week at the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is not listed in the field next week at The American Express in La Quinta, California. He will instead compete at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the European Tour.
As of the announcement Friday evening, Thomas still linked to Ralph Lauren in his Twitter bio and had not publicly commented on the news.