Update Oct. 11, 5:16 p.m.: Following publication of this report, the Trail Blazers issued a statement saying the partnership was severed by Leupold & Stevens and was not motivated by protests from BDS activists, as some websites sympathetic to the movement have claimed.
The Trail Blazers had a partnership with Leupold & Stevens in support of the ‘Hometown Hero' program. The program, which will continue on despite the end of the Leupold partnership, honors the brave men and women of our nation's armed forces, first responders, and other everyday heroes who put service before self. Leupold's sponsorship contract officially expired at the end of last season and Leupold & Stevens made the decision not to renew. Their decision was business-related and not influenced by external pressure as being misreported by certain media outlets. Leupold & Stevens was a great partner and we wish them success for the future.
The Portland Trail Blazers announced that they have severed relations with a company that does business with Israel following a pressure campaign by activists tied to the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
As the NBA is facing outrage after the general manager of the Houston Rockets capitulated to censorship by the Chinese communist government, the Trail Blazers quietly severed ties with the manufacturer Leupold, which has a contract to produce accessories for the Israeli Defense Forces.
Trail Blazers president and CEO Chris McGowan recently announced the decision to bow to pressure from BDS activists, telling a reporter for the Bleacher Report that "Leupold is no longer a part of the organization."
The move was celebrated by anti-Israel activists and picked up by the pro-BDS blog Mondoweiss, which stated that the decision came "after a year-long campaign by local activists to pressure the Blazers to drop the sponsor."
The NBA has been facing fierce backlash following the fallout from the Rockets incident. The controversy erupted after the Rockets general manager tweeted—and subsequently deleted—a tweet expressing support for pro-democracy protesters who are being met with violence by the Chinese government.
The NBA, which has deep business interests in China, has sought to quell the controversy, sparking accusations it is capitulating to China’s censorship regulations.