Panthers, Hornets cut ties with security firm after CEO's 'insensitive and racist' comments after George Floyd's death

The Carolina Panthers cut ties with a local security company on Saturday after its CEO’s “insensitive and racist” comments in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the massive protests that have followed.

The Charlotte Hornets followed suit on Sunday afternoon, as did the athletic departments of the University of South Carolina and University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

CPI Security, according to the Charlotte Observer, was one of the Panthers’ closest local partners for many years.

Per the Observer, Jorge Millares, the leader of Queen City Unity, sent out a mass email to local groups and organizations in the Charlotte area about the need for action following Floyd’s death in police custody late last month. Millares, per the report, said he received positive reactions about his email from almost everyone, except from CPI Security CEO Ken Gill.

“Please spend your time in a more productive way,” Gill told Millares in an email, via the Observer. “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.”

Millares shared the email on Facebook, calling Gill’s comments “insensitive and racist.”

Gill later apologized for his email in a statement.

“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. I fully support the call for racial equality and justice in our community and our country,” Gill said. “We (at CPI) take a great deal of pride in our inclusive culture and in protecting the families and diverse communities we serve. I apologize if my comments did not reflect those values.”

The Panthers, Hornets and Gamecocks, however, still cut ties with the firm. Former Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers called for the move on Twitter ahead of time, too.

Here are the statements from the rest of the teams who have dropped CPI:

People and teams from all corners of the sports world have spoken out after Floyd’s death in police custody late last month, which has sparked constant protests across the country since. Video of his arrest, which showed a white Minneapolis police officer with his knee in the back of Floyd’s neck while he yelled out, “I can’t breathe,” quickly went viral, too. All four officers involved have since been arrested.

After "insensitive and racist" comments from the CEO, the Panthers cut ties with a local security firm on Saturday night.
After "insensitive and racist" comments from the CEO, the Panthers cut ties with a local security firm on Saturday night. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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