NFL won’t move owners meeting from Charlotte despite controversial law
A controversial North Carolina law which has been criticized for rolling back rights for the gay and transgender community has drawn the focus of the NBA, but the NFL isn’t exerting the same kind of pressure yet.
Shortly after the North Carolina General Assembly passed HB2 — which among other things requires people to go to the bathroom of their birth gender as opposed to the gender they identify with — the NBA issued a veiled threat to use the 2017 All-Star Game as leverage against the measure. Atlanta has already offered to host the game instead.
The NFL doesn’t have an equivalent event in the Carolinas to threaten to withhold, though the May owners meetings will be held in a suburban resort there. While the sight of a bunch of rich people rambling through the lobby of an expensive hotel for a couple of days doesn’t have the same kind of sizzle as an all-star weekend, it does put a powerful group of people in a place which just signed a regressive bill into law.
“We embrace diversity and inclusiveness in all of our policies,'' NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, via David Newton of ESPN.com. “The Panthers have made clear their position of non-discrimination and respect for all their fans. The city of Charlotte also has made clear its position. The meeting will take place in the city of Charlotte.”
The Panthers didn’t offer any comment immediately after the bill was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory last week, leaning back on previous statements in defense of LGBT rights.
“As the NFL noted, our organization has a long history of non-discrimination and treating all of our patrons at Bank of America Stadium with dignity and respect,’' team spokesman Steven Drummond said. “Anyone who loves football and the Panthers is and will continue to be welcome at our stadium.”
Of course, other business are taking a stronger stand against a bill which was sold as defending the safety of women and children in bathrooms (despite the lack of evidence they were unsafe without it). PayPal has withdrawn plans to build a new operations center in Charlotte which would have drawn 400 jobs to the city, a move directly related to the bill.