Justin Thomas


Justin Thomas "upset" as use of homophobic slur sees sponsors flee

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Justin Thomas says he was left "upset" by Ralph Lauren's decision to end their sponsorship deal with him. 

The world no.3 was caught using a homophobic slur on day three at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week.

Thomas has vowed to learn from what he's described as a "humiliating and embarrassing" mistake. The 27-year old was using the term towards himself.

"We are disheartened by Mr. Thomas’s recent language, which is entirely inconsistent with our values," Ralph Lauren said.

“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."

"It's humiliating, it's embarrassing, and it's not me," Thomas said ahead of this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Rory McIlroy has spoken in defence of Thomas, saying, "I think he’s already responded really, really well.

"I think he realised he made a big mistake as soon as it was brought to him and he completely owned up to it.

"He said he messed up, he’s going to try to be better. And Justin is true to his word. He will be."

Thomas added, "It's not a word that I use, but for some reason, it was in there.

"And that's what I'm trying to figure out as to why it was in there, and it's going to be a part of this process and training program or whatever I need to do, not only to prove to myself but prove to my sponsors and prove to those people that don't know who I am that that is indeed not the person I am."

Thomas admits he left Ralph Lauren "in a terrible position", and although he understands their position, he's been wounded by the experience.

"I think disappointed is the wrong word, obviously I was upset.

"But at the end of the day, they have that right. They had to make the decision that they had to make.

"I spoke with them along with all of my sponsors. Although I apologised, it's like it was then; it's an opportunity for me to grow and I felt like it was something we could have done together and gone through that process.

"They just felt like they needed to move on. That's exactly what I'm doing, as well. It was a great run that we had and a great partnership, but you know, things will work out for the best.

"Just like my other partners and other sponsorships, it was an opportunity for them to help me, just like I hope to help them. But like I said, they had to do what they had to do.

"They are a huge, huge global brand, and I have to respect their decision. I wasn't disappointed, because I put them in a terrible position. I just was more upset.

"I had a great relationship with a lot of people there, and like I said, we would have had the opportunity to do it together, and I totally respect their decision and I've moved on from it."

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