In response to North Carolina passing a bill that barred local municipalities from establishing anti-discrimination laws, the NBA issued a minor threat to move next year’s All-Star Game from Charlotte. Many throughout sporting and cultural circles, however, believe the NBA’s statement with respect to HB 2 lacked the aggression and outrage expected from the most progressive and forward-thinking major sports league in the world.
Likely among them? A group of U.S. senators who penned a letter to Commissioner Adam Silver urging him to take the 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina.
The letter, signed by New Jersey’s Cory Booker, Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, Washington’s Patty Murray, Vermont’s Latrick Leahy, Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, and Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois, can be read in full below and was first obtained by The Charlotte Observer.
“We hold no ill-will towards the people of Charlotte, who passed an anti-discrimination measure that HB2 overturned, or towards the people of North Carolina. However, we cannot condone nor stand idly by as North Carolina moves to legalize and institutionalize discrimination against the LGBT community. Nor should the NBA allow its premier annual event to be hosted in such a state. Doing so, we believe, would be inconsistent with the NBA’s history and values.”
After HB 2 was passed last month, the league released a statement that condemned the bill’s principles but contained no language guaranteeing the All-Star Game would be moved unless changes were made. Steph Curry’s delayed take on the issue was similarly tepid.
Make no mistake: The NBA would surely award another city next year’s All-Star festivities if HB 2 remains in place. Any other outcome runs directly counter to the league-wide stance on discrimination of any kind whatsoever.
Regardless, a nudge from prominent lawmakers could accelerate the league’s timeline for making a decision. Stay tuned.
(Via The Charlotte Observer)