The Carolina Panthers are cutting ties with a major local promotional partner after the company’s founder and CEO was revealed to have sent an email with racially charged comments.
Ken Gill, CEO of CPI Security, replied to a mass email from a nonprofit group called Queen City Unity — asking for action in response to killings of black people by police, like George Floyd — by writing: “Please spend your time in a more productive way. A better use of time, would be to focus on the black on black crime and senseless killing of our young men by other young men. Have a great day, Ken Gill.”
Gill’s email was posted on Facebook by Jorge Millares, who runs the Queen City Unity group. Millares criticized Gill for “insensitive and racist comments” and called for a boycott of CPI Security.
“Last Saturday, we said we are committed to doing our part and we mean it,” the team wrote in a statement posted on social media Saturday night. “CPI Security has been a long term partner but, upon reflection, we feel that it is right to end our relationship. We have informed Mr. Gill of our decision tonight.”
Gill issued an apology Friday in a statement, reading: “Regarding the email from me that was shared on social media, I want to apologize for my remarks which did not directly address the public’s outcry for racial justice and equality in the wake of George Floyd’s senseless killing.
“Let me say that CPI, and I personally, stand against racism and discrimination of any kind, and we are actively supporting solutions like the new CMPD de-escalation training facility that will bring positive change to our community. In addition, I fully support the call for racial equality and justice in our community and our country.”
Floyd, who was African American, died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis after officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on his neck for eight-plus minutes. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, while three other officers have been charged with abetting murder and manslaughter.
The Panthers released a statement last Saturday that committed to taking “meaningful, sustained action to find solutions and enact change that is so desperately needed to end racial and social injustice.”
CPI had been a major sponsor for the team for several years, including commercials featuring former linebacker Luke Kuechly and star running back Christian McCaffrey.
—Field Level Media