Ralph Lauren has decided to end its sponsorship deal with Justin Thomas after the golfer muttered the word “f*ggot” following a missed putt in Hawaii last week.
Thomas, 27, has had a sponsorship deal with Ralph Lauren since he burst onto the pro scene three years ago.
“In the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, he missed a 5-foot par putt on the fourth hole. He could be heard saying the slur under his breath as he tapped in,” NBC 4 reported.
Ralph Lauren issued a statement ending their business relationship with Thomas while re-affirming their commitment to “the dignity of all people.”
“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.”
For his part, Thomas called his use of the slur, “inexcusable.”
“It’s inexcusable,” Thomas said. “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.”
However, the golfer’s apology did not dissuade Ralph Lauren from severing the relationship.
“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 said.
Though, Ralph Lauren did leave open the possibility of doing business with Thomas again once the golfer “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.”