The Portland Trail Blazers’ Rip City 3-on-3 basketball tournament was unexpectedly injected with some politics last weekend, according to the Oregonian (full article here). A coalition of political and religious groups, including the Portland Democratic Socialists of America, staged a “press conference” to protest the Blazers’ sponsorship deal with Leupold and Stevens.
The coalition objects to Leupold & Stevens’ relationship with the Israel Defense Forces — specifically the Oregon company supplies sniper rifle scopes. A press release from the coalition said the following:
It is unacceptable for our hometown team to promote a company which provides sniper scopes to the IDF, a murderous death squad that upholds apartheid through continuous brutalization of Palestinians.
The Blazers organization seems unmoved by the complaint, releasing a statement that included the following:
Our agreement is primarily with the Leupold & Stevens consumer products division for sporting optics and binoculars. We welcome their continued support of our nightly in-game salute to the bravery, sacrifice and heroism of our military, retired military and first responders.