Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Craig Crawford Headshot

What About NBA's Homophobe Owner?

Posted: Updated:

While a racist in their midst deservedly gets the boot, the NBA and its players paid no attention when one of its owners gave half a million dollars to an anti-gay group, defended it and, despite a tepid boycott effort, went along his merry way without any consequence.

Doug DeVos, whose family owns the Orlando Magic and the direct-selling company Amway, gave the cash to the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage back in 2009 through his family's charitable foundation. Much like the Chick-Fil-A folks.

Faced with threats of a boycott that went nowhere, a family spokesperson brushed it off with ease, saying they believe "the highest calling of any individual is to express their own personal beliefs. As private citizens, the DeVos family supports causes and organizations that advocate for policies aligned to their personal beliefs."

And there it ended. Not a peep from anyone associated with the NBA about the "values" they are now touting.

UPDATE (5/1): More Hits From The DeVos Family Parade

NOTE: Amway founder Richard DeVos, 88, has transferred ownership of his businesses to his sons. Add it all up and the family has given nearly 2 million dollars to anti-gay causes. (credit: PrideSource)

  • In 2004 Betsy and Dick DeVos (son of Richard, Doug's brother) led the effort to put the anti-marriage amendment on the ballot and contributed over $200,000 to the campaign to enshrine discrimination into the Michigan constitution.
  • In 2008, Richard DeVos gave $100,000 to Florida4Marriage, which successfully campaigned to add a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage..
  • In 2006, the Richard and Helen DeVos foundation reported a540,000 donation to Focus on the Family, a Colorado-based organization that stridently opposes gay marriage. The organization donated $400,000 to support Proposition 8 last year, which was successful in banning gay marriage in California.
  • Elsa Prince Broekhuizen contributed $450,000 to the same cause (Focus on the Family). Broekhuizen is the mother of former state GOP chair Betsy DeVos, whose husband, Dick (son of Richard), lost in a bid to unseat Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2006.
  • In a 2009 interview with Chris Knape of the Grand Rapids Press, Richard DeVos addressed his issues with the gay community, ironically concluding with, "You live your life the way you want to live and I'll live mine and I won't stick my nose in yours, but don't keep trying to change things, that's all."

And here is what Richard Devos thinks about AIDS (Video at MLive.com):

"When HIV first came out, President Reagan formed a commission and I was honored to be on that commission. I listened to 300 witnesses tell us that it was every body else's fault but their own. Nothing to do with their conduct, just that the government didn't fix this disease. At the end of that I put in the document, it was the conclusion document from the commission, that actions have consequences and you are responsible for yours. AIDS is a disease people gain because of their actions. It wasn't like cancer. We all made the exceptions for how you got it, by accident, that was all solved a long time ago. That's when they started hanging me in effigy because I wasn't sympathetic to all their requests for special treatment. Because at that time it was always someone else's fault. I said, you are responsible for your actions too, you know. Conduct yourself properly, which is a pretty solid Christian principle." -- Richard DeVos

Craig Crawford publishes the news commenting forum, Trail Mix