NBA All-Star Game Kicks Off, League Warns Texas Against Anti-LGBT Bills

By Megan Clayton • February 17, 2017 • 2:42 pm

The All-Star Game tips off this weekend in New Orleans, and the NBA is taking the opportunity to reiterate organizational policies that ensure players and fans are treated fairly and equally.

The league released a statement earlier this week via Fox Business in response to a question about Senate Bill 6, which would ban transgender people from using restrooms in public places like government buildings and public schools.

SB 6 is disturbingly similar to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which is why the NBA felt compelled to speak out: Charlotte was originally scheduled to host this weekend’s festivities, but the NBA pulled the game after lawmakers refused to repeal HB 2—a move that, so far, has cost North Carolina $100 million in lost revenue.

The NBA’s statement made the connection clear:

“We consider a wide range of factors when making decisions about host locations for league-wide events like the All-Star Game—foremost among them is ensuring the environment where those who participate and attend are treated fairly and equally.”

And the NBA is not the only major league sports organization to speak out against discriminatory bills recently. Last week, just days after the Super Bowl in Houston, the NFL warned that these bills throw into question whether the Lone Star State will ever host another Super Bowl:

Their statement read, in part:

“If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law (in Texas), that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events. … The NFL embraces inclusiveness. … We want all fans to feel welcomed at our events, and NFL policies prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”

Kasey Suffredini, Freedom for All Americans’ chief program officer, noted that it’s hard to deny the economic impact that SB 6 could have considering hotel rooms and sports bars across Charlotte are sitting empty this weekend because of North Carolina lawmakers’ decision to double down on discrimination.

“No one wins when the NBA or NFL is forced to yank their championship games out of a particular city, or when a business redirects planned investments somewhere else. But increasingly, the NBA and others are making it clear that policies like HB 2 and SB 6—which intentionally single out transgender people for discrimination—aren’t aligned with their values. There will be consequences if Texas lawmakers continue forging ahead with their agenda of anti-LGBT discrimination.”

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