Portland Timbers Drop Jersey Sponsor After Sexual Harassment Allegations Against DaBella Execs – SportsLogos.Net News

Portland Timbers Drop Jersey Sponsor After Sexual Harassment Allegations Against DaBella Execs

Just one game into their 2024 Major League Soccer season, the Portland Timbers have terminated their contract with their new jersey sponsor after a lawsuit was made public that threatened to expose sexual harassment allegations against high-level executives at the company.

The Timbers announced back in November that they’d signed a contract with Portland-based home improvement services provider DaBella to become the club’s new front-of-shirt sponsor and “official home improvement partner.” The DaBella logo was to appear on the front of the Timbers’ home, away and specialty kits, as well as other club apparel.

But on Wednesday, February 28, The Oregonian reported that DaBella’s CEO, Donnie McMillan Jr., “is facing a lawsuit that threatens to bring to light complaints that he made unwanted advances and sexually harassed at least three female employees.” The court filing was made public on Friday, February 23.

As a result, the Timbers swiftly announced they’d terminated their sponsorship contract with DaBella effective immediately.

The lawsuit against DaBella and its CEO, Donnie McMillan Jr., does not accuse McMillan of sexual misconduct. Rather, the lawsuit filed by former chief financial officer Lowell “Greg” Swartz claims the company never paid him money he says he was owed after he was fired in 2022.

It is the legal maneuvering over those claims that may expose what Swartz said are allegations of McMillan’s inappropriate treatment of women employees. Last week, Swartz filed a motion to compel McMillan and DaBella to produce certain internal documents that his lawyer said will reveal the complaints.

“We are asking the court to order McMillan and DaBella to produce documents about at least three claims and two settlement agreements involving allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances in the workplace,” said Gabriel Weaver, a Portland attorney representing Swartz.

The Oregonian/OregonLive

The Timbers’ statement came just hours after The Oregonian broke the initial lawsuit story on Wednesday. According to the newspaper, the team only learned of the allegations on Tuesday after being contacted for comment.

“The decision was rooted in the responsibility we have to our fans, supporters, partners and employees to transparently reflect and uphold the values and expectations of our community,” the Timbers’ statement said.

DaBella CEO Donnie McMillan Jr. (left) poses with one of the company’s regional managers during the announcement of their sponsorship deal with the Portland Timbers in November 2023. (Courtesy The Oregonian/OregonLive)

With their next match coming up on Saturday, March 2, at home against D.C. United, it’s unclear if the Timbers will be able to get new kits without DaBella’s logo on the front in time. For context, English Premier League club Chelsea FC still played with the logo of their sponsor, Irish telecom company Three, on their shirts for several weeks in 2022 after Three suspended their sponsorship due to Chelsea’s owner at the time having ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin. But Chelsea had the added complication of not being able to print new shirts due to U.K. government sanctions.

As of Wednesday evening, however, jerseys with the DaBella logo on the front had been pulled from MLS’s official online store.

DaBella was only the second jersey sponsor the Timbers had had since joining MLS in 2011. For the 12 years prior, the logo of Alaska Airlines was on the front of their shirts.