It's time for the NBA to stop with the platitudes and put your (metaphorical) money where your mouth is and make a stand. The NBA needs to pull the 2017 NBA All-Star Game from the city of Charlotte, North Carolina in response to House Bill 2 essentially making it legal to discriminate against the LGBT Community. This isn't about patting yourself on the back because of all the supposed open-mindedness and inclusion that your league has fostered since Golden State Warriors Executive Rick Welts and former NBA players John Amaechi and Jason Collins came out of the closet.
The odious aspect of this sudden law that was passed by the North Carolina Legislature (and passed into Law and signed by the Governor) was this was a "special session" that was called almost exclusively because the city of Charlotte passed a bill that expanded LGBT protections. Think about that. The LEGISLATURE of an entire state passed a law to nullify a law passed by their largest city. What kind of message does that send? What kind of message should that send to the National Basketball Association?
This is about making a stand.
The National Football League, for all it's obvious and numerous faults, put their words into action by warning the city of Atlanta and State of Georgia about their own "Religious Freedom" bill that mirrored closely the one passed in Indiana last year (which was covered right here). The NFL has a serious and VERY checkered history with the LGBT community, and quite frankly it should be enough for anyone to side-eye them just in general. HOWEVER, if the NFL can use it's clout against what the state of Georgia passed in their legislature, then the NBA can and MUST use that same clout with the state of North Carolina.
There reaches a point where you can't stand on the sidelines and put private pressure on politicians and do things in the background to avoid offending the public. It's additionally time for Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan to take a stand against this law. It directly affect clientele that go to his games IN Charlotte. The city tried to do something great for LGBT and was directly countermanded by the state. What are your thoughts Michael? Do you still believe that republicans buy shoes too? What about LGBT youth who are fans of your Hornets? Don't they buy shoes, gear, Hornets shirts too?
It must be said the city of Charlotte tried to do something really good in passing laws that included LGBT protections. Its unfortunate that the state saw fit to contradict and supersede the recent passage of those laws with something that was sweepingly anti-LGBT. Hopefully the people of Charlotte won't stand for their state making such laws and take action like we hope the NBA will.
We need to hear from you NBA. We need to hear something but more than words we need actions and we need to see the league take a stand. Not just when your a self-policing like was done with Rajon Rondo this last year or Kobe Bryant 4 years ago. It needs to be something that speaks to the culture at large and makes a lasting impact.
I'm not just watching because I happen to be a member of the LGBT community. I'm saying this as someone who is an NBA fan. The youth who are fans of this great game will watch you and see the example you set when things make the league uncomfortable.
The NBA, the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan ... I'm calling on YOU to do something that is more lasting and shows a greater respect for your fans than any previous single gesture. STAND with your LGBT fans and fans all over the united states and pull the 2017 NBA All Star Game from the city of Charlotte. Show that the league will NOT stand for discrimination against ANYONE.
It's just damn time for action.
Additional calls for action include Dave Zirin at The Nation: here
And Sean Deveney at Sporting News: here
Official Statement from the NBA
NBA statement regarding recent North Carolina legislation. pic.twitter.com/eEYjJJT7DQ— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 24, 2016