Ever since North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) enacted the anti-LGBT law HB2 in the spring, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has threatened to move the 2017 All-Star Game away from Charlotte. On Thursday, after months of failed talks with the state to make satisfactory changes to the legislation, Silver backed up his words with action. The Vertical reports that the NBA has officially pulled the All-Star Game from the Queen City.
This is a significant statement from a league that has frequently preached diversity and inclusion, and a big blow to the city of Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer previously reported that the All-Star Game was projected to have a $100 million impact on the host city.
Many close to the NBA, including basketball legend Charles Barkley, have been vocal supporters of the NBA pulling the game from Charlotte.
“It’s my job, with the position of power that I’m in and being able to be on television, I’m supposed to stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves,” Barkely said in April. “So, I think the NBA should move the All-Star game from Charlotte.”
Charles Barkley Urges NBA To Move All-Star Game From North Carolina Due To Anti-LGBT LawSports by CREDIT: John Locher, AP Basketball legend Charles Barkley is not happy with HB2 – the new North Carolina law…thinkprogress.orgAmong other discriminatory measures, HB2 mandates that transgender individuals use restrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates, not their gender identities.
Last month, the pressure from the NBA caused North Carolina Republicans to take another look at the controversial bill, but the changes they proposed did not fix HB2’s most problematic features. The new draft bill gave transgender individuals the option to obtain an official certificate that would recognize their gender reassignment. However, that step still required transgender individuals to undergo gender reassignment surgery, an extremely expensive and invasive procedure.
The NBA was not impressed.
“We have been engaged in dialogue with numerous groups at the city and state levels, but we do not endorse the version of the bill that we understand is currently before the legislature,” the NBA and Charlotte Hornets said in a statement. “We remain committed to our guiding principles of inclusion, mutual respect and equal protections for all.”
If This Is How North Carolina Republicans Think HB2 Can Be Fixed, They’re WrongLGBT by CREDIT: AP Photo/Chuck Burton Pressure from the NBA over where it will hold its All Star Game next year was…thinkprogress.orgThe NBA has stressed its support for LGBT rights over the past few years, and in June became the first pro sports league (along with the WNBA) to have a float in the New York City pride parade. Silver had hoped to work with North Carolina to change the bill, especially considering the fact that there is an NBA franchise in the state.
But unfortunately, McCrory and other North Carolina legislators simply would not budge on this issue, instead insisting that the bill was “common sense.”
This is far from the first time that HB2 has cost North Carolina dearly. In April, PayPal announced that it was cancelling plans to build an operations center in Charlotte because of the law, costing the state 400 jobs.
Currently, the NBA is focused on moving the All-Star Game to New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center, though other cities are still trying to vie for the opportunity to host the high-profile weekend of events.
The NBA has released a statement confirming its decision and reiterating its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and fairness.
“While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2,” the league said.
The NBA issued the following statement today regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game pic.twitter.com/2yo1YDA2Un
— NBA (@NBA) July 21, 2016
“We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season,” The Charlotte Hornets and Chairman Michael Jordan said in a statement. “There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so.”
McCrory, meanwhile, released a statement of his own, blaming the NBA’s decision on the “sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media.”
North Carolina has been maligned “simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present,” the governor added.
“Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”