NBA to move 2017 All Star game from Charlotte due to bathroom bill
The National Basketball Association announced that it will not play the 2017 All Star game in Charlotte, N.C. because of the LGBT bill passed earlier this year.
No alternate site for the game has been announced.
The NBA's action follows the decisions by several large corporations and well known entertainers to boycott North Carolina because of the bathroom bill.
"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 in a statement.
The NBA also said a new location for next year's All-Star Game will be made in the coming weeks. The exhibition, which generates millions of dollars in economic activity, could be rescheduled for Charlotte in 2019 if there is an "appropriate resolution to this matter."
An earlier Yahoo report, citing sources, said New Orleans, which hosted the game in 2008 and 2014, was a likely replacement for the mid-season extravaganza.
Moving the event out of the state follows similar moves by top entertainers that have canceled shows in North Carolina, including Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Boston, Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr and the group Cirque du Soleil.
"There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so," Michael Jordan, chairman of the Charlotte Hornets, said in a statement. "With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star Weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019."
The law made North Carolina the first U.S. state to require transgender people to use restrooms in public buildings and schools that match the sex on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.
Following the NBA's decision, North Carolina's Republican governor, Pat McCrory, issued a scathing statement in which he said: "the sports and entertainment elite," among others, "misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present."
McCrory did not mention the NBA but went on to say "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."
How hypocritical is this action by the NBA? The league has played exhibitions in countries where it is actually illegal to be gay. They feature players from countries where the LGBT community is oppressed and routinely assaulted.
Apparently, if you can play basketball at a high level – or pay enough to have players perform in countries where it's illegal to be gay – the "climate created" by these anti-LGBT countries doesn't matter.
Here's a list of foreign-born players on teams' rosters at the beginning of the 2015-16 season and a list of the 76 countries where it's illegal to be gay. See how many players you can match to countries that really oppress gay people.
Note also that there are countries like Russia and most of Eastern Europe where gays are routinely harassed by authorities and the victims of brutal violence. They aren't on the list, but it makes North Carolina's commonsense law extremely mild by comparision.
So far, North Carolina has stood its ground and refused to give in to the bullies. But a few more boycotts like this – including talk of NCAA basketball teams canceling games against state schools – and there may be a backlash that could upend the law.