Whatever internal punishment Justin Thomas has been handed by the PGA Tour will be nothing compared to news that clothing giant Ralph Lauren has terminated their contract with the American.
In what was a dreadful week for golf, JT had unreservedly apologised after a hot mic picked up a homophobic slur that Thomas let slip following a missed putt at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. However, the apology hasn’t been enough to convince Ralph Lauren that Thomas is a client worth sticking with, given his actions were “entirely inconsistent with our values”.
A statement read:
“At the Ralph Lauren Corporation, we believe in the dignity of all people, regardless of age, race, gender identity, ethnicity, political affiliation or sexual orientation This is part of our longstanding commitment to foster cultures of belonging – in the workplace and in communities around the world.
“We are disheartened by Mr Thomas’ 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. 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.”
Ralph Lauren has clearly left the door open for Thomas to return, and their sentiments echo what JT said himself in an interview following the incident where he vowed to do better for his legions of supporters.
“There’s just no excuse,” Thomas said after Saturday’s round. “There’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It’s terrible. It’s not the kind of person that I am. I need to do better. I deeply apologise to anyone and everybody who I offended and I’ll be better because of it.”
Following Sunday’s round, he added: “I clearly screwed up. I made a terrible, terrible judgment call. But I thought a lot last night that, we grow a lot as people over time. I wish that I could learn to grow a different way than the way that I chose to do it, but unfortunately it’s in the past and there’s nothing I can do about it now. Now I just get to take time going forward and try to become better because of it.”