NBA team refutes claims it caved to BDS

Portland Trail Blazers refutes reports it ended sponsorship with rifle scope manufacturer who has contracts with IDF due to BDS pressure.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers
Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers basketball team refuted reports that the team's sponsorship with a rifle scope manufacturer who has contracts with the IDF was ended as a result of pressure by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The team issued a statement Thursday night claiming that their sponsorship with Leupold & Stevens ended after last season, and that the company opted not to renew their agreement.

“Leupold’s sponsorship contract officially expired at the end of last season and Leupold & Stevens made the decision not to renew,” the Trail Blazers said in a statement posted on the team's Twitter account and quoted by The Washington Examiner.

“Their decision was business-related and not influenced by external pressure as being misreported by certain media outlets,” the NBA team added.

Leupold & Stevens paired up with the team to sponsor the “Hometown Hero” mid-game segment, during which the team and crowd honors veterans and other individuals, noted The Washington Examiner.

A number of Portland-based organizations, including the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), pushed for the team to end the partnership, citing the BDS movement.

After the termination of the agreement with Leupold & Stevens was announced, Portland DSA tweeted, "#NoLeupold has become a reality! Thank you to all the people and organizations that helped create the pressure necessary to end this sponsorship!”

The tweet included the hashtag “#FreePalestine"

Following the Trail Blazers' statement that they were not pressured into ending the agreement with Leupold & Stevens, Portland DSA tweeted, "BDS works! Continue the movement and make it hard for anyone to rationalize doing business with companies that help arm apartheid Israel and companies inside Israel."

More than 25 states have passed legislation against the BDS movement in recent years. These include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)