Orlando Magic Notebook: Two former players pass away

Apr 10, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo (5) and Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) react after their game against the Toronto Raptors at Amway Center. Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 101-99. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo (5) and Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) react after their game against the Toronto Raptors at Amway Center. Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 101-99. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic family is mourning Friday as two former players passed away this week suddenly and far too soon.

The Orlando Magic family is mourning a bit this week with the sudden passing of former center Sean Rooks and former guard Brooks Thompson this week.

Rooks, 46, collapsed in a Philadelphia restaurant from an apparent heart attack after meeting with the New York Knicks to become an assistant coach. Rooks, who was an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, was thought of as an engaging coach and one of the up and comers in the industry.

Related Story: Adrian Griffin leaving Orlando Magic for Oklahoma City Thunder

He was also receiving offers to coach Charlotte’s new D-League team in Greensboro.

Rooks played 20 games for the Magic in 2004. He averaged 3.1 points per game and 2.4 rebounds per game. His career was noted for his journeyman status, he played for seven teams in his 12-year career. But he always got another chance and some team always gave him a shot.

Orlando acquired him in a 2004 trade during its disastrous 21-61 season. He brought some veteran presence and a hard-working quality to a team that was struggling to win and get to the end of the season. It was clear he was near the end of his career though when he arrived in Orlando late in the season.

The Magic family mourned a second loss Friday when news came out of the sudden passing of former guard Brooks Thompson.

Thompson, 45, passed away Thursday from double organ failure, according to the Tulsa World News. Thompson was in the hospital for the past several months fighting the disease.

The Magic Drafted Thompson in the 1994 draft and played two seasons with Orlando. Thompson played 71 games in those two seasons, averaging 3.6 points per game and 1.0 assists per game.

After his four-year career, he became an assistant coach for his alma mater Oklahoma State and then eventually became head coach for Texas-San Antonio. He coached 10 years for the Roadrunners, accumulating a 130-176 record.

The Magic family is certainly mourning.

Magic sideline reporter in trouble

Orlando Magic television sideline reporter Emily Austen is in some hot water after comments she made on a recent episode of Barstool Sports Broadcast.

Barstool is often a little raunchy and a little off-the-cuff in its approach to sports coverage. It can be a bastion of hyper-masculinity and hot takes. It is not the place to go for measured or reasoned opinion.

Austen, though clearly set up and kind of dragged into some unsavory conversations, took the bait and said some clearly dicey things.

FOX Sports Florida has pulled her from upcoming Tampa Bay Rays broadcasts saying in a statement to Deadspin:

"We were made aware that Emily Austen appeared in a social media video unaffiliated with FOX Sports in which she made insensitive and derogatory comments. She was not speaking on behalf of FOX Sports, nor do we condone any of the statements she made in the video. Emily has been advised that her comments were unacceptable, and she is not scheduled to appear on any upcoming FOX Sports Florida or FOX Sports Sun broadcasts."

Her status as the Magic’s sideline reporter is not determined yet. Knowing Emily from working with her, you would hope this is a misunderstanding. But it obviously does not look good.

UPDATE: A Magic representative told Orlando Magic Daily the Magic “completely support FOX’s decision regarding her insensitive and derogatory comments.” The representative also said it is the Magic’s understanding her employment with FOX has ended.

Orlando Magic join NBA with Gay Pride shirts

So a break from all the bad news.

The Orlando Magic, along with every NBA team, will be featured on t-shirts with their logo painted in rainbow in honor of Gay Pride Month and LGBTQ issues. Proceeds from the sales of the shirt through Teespring will be donated to the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network.

"“We are so thankful for all of the support we receive from all of our fans,” said Joel Glass, chief communications officer for The Orlando Magic, to Alex Storer of Watermark Online. “The Magic is truly committed to creating an inclusive environment in which fans, community partners and employees feel welcome, valued and appreciated.”"

This is a minor deal in most respects. The Orlando Magic have always been a welcoming organization. And the NBA has always been out in front on civil rights and even now on open LGBTQ acceptance among the major sports leagues.

There is still a lot of work to go though.

The Magic specifically being out in front is a very welcome sign for acceptance in this community.

At one point, gay rights groups were threatening to boycott the Magic and Amway for Rich DeVos and his family’s controversial position regarding marriage equality. Members of the family as recently as 2009 donated to the National Organization for Marriage, a group that uses its political power and lobbying to defend a “traditional” definition of marriage. The National Organization for Marriage is labeled a “hate group” by many for its work against LGBTQ equal rights and marriage equality.

Rich DeVos himself often comes under fire for comments he made regarding his work with the AIDS crisis under the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s where he essentially blamed homosexuality for the AIDS crisis. He defending this claim in a 2009 interview with MLive.

It would seem the DeVos family’s opposition to marriage equality is based on their religious beliefs. The reader can determine whether that is legitimate or not. The DeVos family has not made any public comment on this issue since then.

The Orlando Magic as a separate entity and organization never have seemed to be anything but inclusive and welcoming.

Whenever the Magic are asked about these comments, they make clear these were personal political donations from members of the DeVos family and do not reflect the ideal and values of the Magic organization. The Orlando Magic have always been an inclusive employer and work environment.

Next: State of the Southeast Division: How the Orlando Magic can move up

Whether it is an official endorsement from the DeVos family in any way or simply the Magic joining a NBA effort, seeing the Magic logo in rainbow for LGBTQ and in support of GLSEN is an incredible step forward and a fantastic sign of solidarity with this group fighting for a welcoming place in society.