Reports: Anti-LGBT HB2 Costs North Carolina the NBA All-Star Game, a Loss of $100 MillionBy Adam Polaski • July 19, 2016 • 2:27 pm
Today, multiple news outlets – includingYahoo! Sports and Sports Illustrated – reported that the National Basketball Association (NBA) is taking steps to relocate the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, which was scheduled to be hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina in February 2017. The news comes after nearly four months of national backlash from North Carolina’s heinous House Bill 2, which stripped municipalities in North Carolina of the ability to establish LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections and then codified discrimination against transgender people.
The NBA has repeatedly called on North Carolina state lawmakers to address the anti-transgender law, but the General Assembly recently adjourned without tackling any of the most offensive portions of the law
Charlotte has been eagerly counting down to the 2017 All-Star Game, as this would have been the first time Charlotte hosted the game in 26 years. It is an enormous source of revenue for the city – the Charlotte Regional Visitor Authority estimated that it would bring in approximately $100 million to the local economy. Fifteen sponsors had already pledged their support for the All-Star Game.
Now, solely because of the anti-LGBT legislation that the North Carolina General Assembly introduced, passed out of two committees and chambers, and signed into law within 10 hours, North Carolina is continuing to suffer in very tangible, very damaging ways.
The decision comes after weeks of pressure on the NBA to move the game so that all patrons feel safe and protected. From 11-time All-Star Charles Barkley to the coach of the Detroit Pistons to many United States Senators, the pressure has been overwhelming.
Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:
“It’s incredibly unfortunate that the hardworking people of North Carolina continue to suffer the economic impacts from HB 2. Over the last few months, there has been an overwhelmingly clear message from the NBA, from businesses big and small, and from so many others across the country on both sides of the aisle couldn’t be clearer: Repeal HB 2.”
He continued: “Instead, lawmakers have chosen to ignore this offensive law, its implications for transgender Americans and its consequences for the state’s economy. Should the NBA move forward with their plan to relocate the games, it would be dispiriting for Charlotte – but North Carolina’s lawmakers must understand, once and for all, that major institutions and corporations won’t stand for laws that treat any group of people unfairly.”
Without a doubt, this is the one of the most substantial examples of how House Bill 2 hurts North Carolina. The already undoubtedly hurts LGBT North Carolinians: It bans local communities from taking steps toward protecting LGBT residents and essentially criminalizes transgender people for being who they are. But between the NBA news – and other news from Paypal and Deutsche Bank withdrawing plans to expand operations in North Carolina – House Bill 2 also clearly damages the broader North Carolina economy.
There’s only one way to fix the hemorrhaging: The North Carolina General Assembly MUST repeal HB2. It is up to the General Assembly to take decisive action that affirms the dignity and respect of all North Carolinians and stops the economic damage that has so sharply damaged the state’s economy. North Carolina must repeal HB2 – and then, going forward, pass comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that protect all North Carolinians from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
That’s the only way to fix this travesty in North Carolina. The NCGA must turn the page on this damaging chapter of the state’s history.