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Portland Timbers end kit sponsorship with DaBella due to sexual harassment allegations surrounding company

The Portland Timbers have terminated their corporate sponsorship with DaBella Exteriors, a home improvement services company specializing in roofing and siding, that was the club’s new front-of-shirt sponsor.

The announcement came Wednesday on the heels of a report by The Oregonian detailing that the chief executive of DaBella, Donnie McMillan Jr.,is facing a lawsuit that could uncover complaints that he sexually harassed at least three female employees.

The lawsuit against DaBella, a company founded in the Portland area, and McMillan Jr., was made public on Feb. 23. The Timbers learned of the suit on Feb. 27 and decided to terminate the sponsorship, effective immediately.

“The Timbers and a third-party firm conducted a thorough pre-deal vetting process, and the club did not learn of the filing until Feb. 27,” the team said in a statement. “This 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 termination of the partnership will come at a multi-million dollar cost for the Timbers, who have a significant inventory of 2024 jerseys with the DaBella logo on the front, among other activations and signage throughout the stadium. Timbers CEO Heather Davis said the team is still working with MLS and Adidas to figure out the next steps in what she said was an “unprecedented” situation, but that the team acted quickly to terminate the partnership without regard for the “financial consequences.”

“This was something that was brought to our attention yesterday late afternoon and we’ve made the decision quickly, but have been working with our partners at the league and Adidas and others to understand all of the implications here and how we’re going to handle those,” Davis said. “We don’t really have a lot of answers. I can say that we are not going to play in jerseys with DaBella on the front of them this weekend and that DaBella won’t appear in our stadium. …The complexities of the retail component of this is something that we have MLS partnering with us and working with Adidas to sort out, but it’s unprecedented, so no one has easy answers. But everyone is committed to figuring it out.”

The Timbers, which opened the season last weekend, are removing all jerseys with DaBella on the front from team stores at the stadium, Davis said, and the team will play in a shirt with a blank front. There are no plans for what could come next for the jersey-front sponsorship at this time.

“We did what was in the best interest of our club and our community, as well as our staff and other corporate partners,” Davis said.

The decision to terminate the partnership is a major blow for an organization that has had to navigate the fallout of its own major failings over the past few years.

An investigation commissioned by U.S. Soccer and released in 2022 following The Athletic’s report on allegations of sexual coercion and manipulative behavior by Paul Riley during his time as Thorns head coach and beyond, claimed Timbers owner Merritt Paulson minimized, obscured and failed to tell the whole truth about Riley’s actions and exit from Portland when speaking with North Carolina Courage owner Steve Malik, who went on to hire Riley.

Paulson sold the Thorns earlier this year.

The Oregonian also published an investigation in 2022 into a toxic workplace for women and working mothers under former president of business Mike Golub, who was fired after the U.S. Soccer investigation report. Former Timbers president of soccer, Gavin Wilkinson, was also fired after the U.S. Soccer report in 2022. The Timbers were also fined $25,000 by Major League Soccer for failing to report allegations of assault against former player Andy Polo. Polo was recently ordered to pay $600,000 to former partner Génessis Alarcón after he was found liable for assault and battery against her.

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(Photo: Soobum Im / USA Today)

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