No NBA All-Star Game in North Carolina
North Carolina’s shameful and unconstitutional anti-LGBT law, HB 2, has been attracting criticism and outrage across the nation for months. Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that HB2 was in violation of the Civil Rights Act and called on North Carolina to stop state-sponsored discrimination. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory doubled down on hate by suing the DOJ in response.1 The DOJ is fighting back against bigotry by filing a civil rights lawsuit against the state.2
Gov. McCrory’s actions this week speak for themselves and the National Basketball Association (NBA) has a decision to make – whether or not it will stand up against hate.
The NBA All-Star Game is currently scheduled to be held in North Carolina in 2017. When HB 2 passed, NBA commissioner Adam Silver called the anti-trans legislation problematic but said that the NBA would not yet move the game, on the grounds that the NBA “can be most constructive by working with elected officials to effect change.” 3
McCrory’s lawsuit this week makes clear that there is nothing constructive to be gained by working with North Carolina officials. McCrory and North Carolina’s extreme right-wing Republican lawmakers have made clear that they are standing on the side of bigotry and discrimination. The time is now for the NBA to take a clear stand against discrimination by North Carolina by immediately moving the All-Star Game.
Tell NBA commissioner Adam Silver: Move the 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina.
North Carolina’s legislation is a stunning attack on the rights of North Carolinians on multiple levels. In addition to banning transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identities, HB 2 bans any local nondiscrimination laws and prevents civil suits, even in the case of documented discrimination. Essentially, North Carolina has mandated state-licensed discrimination against gay and transgender people, and Gov. McCrory and Republican lawmakers show no signs of backing down, despite mass public outrage, the DOJ ruling that the law is unconstitutional, and the risk that the state could lose billions of dollars of federal funding for public education.4
The All-Star Game is an annual three-day event that brings millions of dollars to the host city.5 The NBA has an opportunity to use its considerable power in this situation to apply intense pressure to North Carolina to change the law, while making a profound statement against discrimination and in support of the LGBT community.
It’s time for the NBA to make a clear statement against discrimination. Tell Commissioner Adam Silver to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina.
Thank you for standing for equal rights.
1. David A. Graham, “North Carolina's Suit to Keep Federal Funding After HB2,” The Atlantic, May 9, 2016.
2. Joe Sterling, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Joshua Berlinger, “North Carolina, U.S., square off over transgender rights,” CNN Politics, May 10, 2016.
3. Katherine Peralta, “NBA: No plans now to move All-Star Game from Charlotte, but HB2 ‘problematic’,” The Charlotte Observer, Apr. 15, 2016.
4. David A. Graham, “North Carolina's Suit to Keep Federal Funding After HB2,” The Atlantic, May 9, 2016.
5. Matt Moore, “Charlotte could lose '17 NBA All-Star Game if HB2 law isn't changed,” CBSS Sports, Apr. 21, 2016.