BOSTON -- The NBA could potentially pull out of next year’s All-Star game in Charlotte following North Carolina legislation which doesn’t provide certain provisions to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender residents.
"The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events,” read a statement released by the NBA on Thursday. “We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.”
The new law passed in North Carolina on Wednesday requires public school and university students use bathrooms according to their birth certificate’s gender. The law shot down a non-discrimination ordinance passed by Charlotte’s City Council in February that had extended anti-discrimination protection to LGBT residents. In addition, the new bill doesn’t allow state municipalities to introduce new LGBT measures such as multi-stall transgender bathrooms.
The NBA isn’t by itself when it comes to potentially pulling one of its showcase events out of Charlotte.
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is scheduled to have games played in Greensboro, N.C. in 2017 and Charlotte in 2018. And like the NBA, they too are considering a potential change of venue.
“We’ll continue to monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites,” read a statement from the NCAA. “Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values. It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.”
Issues pertaining to the LGBT community have been particularly important to the NBA, even more so after former Boston Celtic Jason Collins became the first openly gay player to play in the NBA when he was with the Brooklyn Nets.
“I’m honored, in so many ways,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Bleacher Report in April, 2014 following Collins signing with the Nets. “That the NBA presented to him a comfortable environment in which he both felt comfortable coming out last April, and one in which an NBA team felt comfortable signing him based on his ability, and in no way to make a political statement.”