COLUMBIA, S.C. (The Big Spur) - The University of South Carolina athletics department has cut sponsorship ties with CPI Security after a email response reveled company CEO Kenneth Gill’s insensitive comments about social injustice after North Carolina protests.
“Today, we notified CPI Security that we were ending our corporate sponsorship relationship with their company,” athletics director Ray Tanner said in a released statement. “Our University and our athletics department stand for equality and justice for all. Our student-athletes, coaches and staff have taken part in peaceful protests and made statements in their support for ending racism and social injustice. We should all be committed to supporting these efforts.”
South Carolina is not the first sports entity to part ways with the Charlotte-based security company in recent days. The NFL's Carolina Panthers cut ties on Saturday and North Carolina State did the same on Sunday.
The following is courtesy of 247Sports’ Brad Crawford report on the Panthers’ news on CPI.
"Please spend your time in a more productive way. I challenge your statistics," CPI Security Ken Gill wrote in an email response to Jorge Millares, the executive director of local community group Queen City Unity. "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."
Queen City called for a public reprimanding and boycott of CPI Security after that email became public, including North Carolina-based sports teams “such as the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets ... consider severing ties with CPI and Kenneth Gill.”
“Last Saturday, we said we are committed to doing our part and we mean it,” the Panthers said in a statement. “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 apologized for his email response to Queen City Unity, saying he “did not directly address the public’s outcry for racial justice and equality in the wake of George Floyd’s senseless killing.”