The LeBron James banner that hangs off the Sherwin-Williams global headquarters will not come down during the upcoming Republican National Convention in downtown Cleveland, the company announced Tuesday.
According to The Plain Dealer of Cleveland
, a plan to replace the James' banner with a red, white, and blue welcome sign for the visitors of the GOP convention on the company's 150th birthday has been scrapped. The new banner was supposed to go up July 5, more than a week before the July 18 convention kickoff.
Since the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship against the Golden State Warriors on June 19, Sherwin-Williams has faced pressure to keep up the giant 10-story banner that hangs from the side of its building. It was the first professional sports championship for the city in 52 years, and is precious to many fans.
"For 150 years, Sherwin-Williams has been proud to call Cleveland our home, and we're committed to doing the right thing for the people of this great city," John Morikis, president and chief executive of The Sherwin-Williams Co., said in a company statement
"For the last year, we've been planning to hang a celebratory banner outside our building during the summer months. But what better way to celebrate our 150th year than with a NBA championship. As a long-time supporter of the Cavs, and the entire community, we want the energy and excitement in this city to continue," the statement continued.
Sherwin-Williams also announced that it was donating $150,000 to the LeBron James Family Foundation.
that the banner, which is located across from Quicken Loans Arena, the same location of the Republican National Convention, has been up since the Cavaliers' home opener in October 2014 — the first game James played for the team since his return from Miami, where he won two NBA titles.
David Skolnick, a reporter for the Youngstown Vindicator, posted on Twitter that Ohio Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman agreed with Sherwin-William's decision. The senator followed it up with a tweet of his own.
Nearly 24,000 fans signed a Change.org petition
asking the company to leave the banner up, calling it "a symbol of persistence, promise, and pride in the Cleveland Cavaliers and Northeastern Ohio."
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