Carolina Panthers, NC State, Hornets end partnership with CPI Security after CEO's protest remark

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- NC State Athletics announced Sunday afternoon that it will be cutting ties with CPI Security following controversial comments made by the security company's CEO. This marks the second athletic program, including the Carolina Panthers, to cut ties with the security company.

The college athletic program will begin removing all sponsorship signage from their venues.

"Following recent comments by the CEO of CPI Security, effective immediately NC State Athletics is ending any partnerships with CPI Security, including removing all sponsorship signage from our venues. NC State Athletics is fully committed to promoting and protecting an atmosphere that values and embraces diversity and inclusion.

The Charlotte Hornets released a statement Sunday afternoon that it too will be cutting ties with CPI Security.

"Our chairman has been very clear about his thoughts surrounding the issues of racial equality, social justice and diversity. Hornets Sports & Entertainment shares these values. As a result, we believe it is appropriate at this time to end our partnership with CPI. WE notified CPI CEO Ken Gill of our decision earlier today. Across our organization from our ownership, to our players, to our staff, we are fully committed to improving racial equality, social justice, diversity and access to education throughout our community," the Hornets tweeted.

The Carolina Panthers were first to announce they would be cutting ties with the security company late Saturday evening saying, "Last Saturday, we said we are committed to doing our part and we mean it. 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."

The Charlotte Observer reports that the decision was made after the Jorge Millares, leader of the Queen City Unity organization, sent out a mass email calling for action in response to the killings of black people by police.

In response, Millares received an email from CPI CEO Ken Gill saying in part, "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."
CPI Security CEO Kenneth Gill has since released an apology saying, "I want to apologize for my response to an email from a former employee that failed to directly address the need for racial justice and equality in the wake of George Floyd's senseless killing.

I have listened to the feedback, and now more than ever realize the need for continued dialog to help end racism within our community. Working alongside our diverse employee base and community partners, I remain committed to being part of the solution."
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