NBA Objects To HB2, Moves All-Star Game From Charlotte

Jul 21, 2016

The NBA says its moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of its objections to House Bill 2, the state law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.

League officials on Thursday said they hope to announce a new location for next February's events shortly. The league hopes to reschedule the 2019 game for Charlotte.

The league's decision comes shortly after stage legislators revisited the law and chose to leave it largely unchanged.

Commissioner Adam Silver had said the league needed to make a decision this summer about its plans.

Various state officials and organizations reacted to the announcement shortly after it was made Thursday afternoon.

The NBA's statement read:

"Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community -- current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. 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.

"We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons -- including members of the LGBT community -- feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena."

Francis De Luca, president of the Raleigh-based Civitas Institute, said:

"If these reports are indeed true, then the NBA has chosen social activism as opposed to what is in the best interests of their business. This is a perfect example of attempted corporate bullying, which will not hurt North Carolina. Thanks to conservative leadership in our state, North Carolina has attracted more business and jobs than ever before, and our economy continues to strengthen whether the NBA agrees with our laws or not. The thought that one basketball game not being played here will have a negative impact on North Carolina's over half-trillion dollar economy is laughable."

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said:

"Today the NBA and Commissioner Silver sent a clear message that they won’t stand for discrimination against LGBTQ employees, players or fans. The NBA repeatedly warned state lawmakers that their hateful HB2 law created an inhospitable environment for their 2017 All-Star Game and other events. Nevertheless, Governor McCrory, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore doubled down on HB2 and refused to undo their discriminatory and costly error in judgment. Every day that HB2 remains on the books, people across North Carolina are at risk of real harm. We appreciate the leadership of the NBA in standing up for equality and call once again on lawmakers to repeal this vile HB2 law."

Governor Pat McCrory also issued a statement:

"The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months 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. Twenty-one other states have joined North Carolina to challenge the federal overreach by the Obama administration mandating their bathroom policies in all businesses and schools instead of allowing accommodations for unique circumstances. Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. 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."

North Carolina Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue said:

"This is a devastating blow to our state, one that will take North Carolina years to recover from economically – it will take even longer to repair our reputation."

Tami Fitzgerald, Executive Director of NC Values Coalition issued the following statement:

"We are disappointed that Commissioner Silver has decided to cancel the League's commitment to the City of Charlotte, the Charlotte Hornets, and the people of North Carolina over the League's desire to give in to the bullying by radical left-wing groups like the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC. The League has decided that advancing a political agenda that embraces allowing grown men into the bathrooms and showers of young girls is more important than protecting the privacy and safety of their fans..."

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said in a statement:

"I am disappointed to learn of the NBA's decision to move its All-Star Game away from Charlotte.  While the City itself set the forces in motion that ultimately led to this outcome, it is unfortunate that Charlotte will not be hosting this event next year.  We will continue to advocate that North Carolina is a great place to live, do business and to visit and will not let the decision on one event dampen our efforts to continue moving North Carolina forward."
 

North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement:

"The need for HB2 became crystal clear earlier this month, just steps away from the NBA arena in Charlotte, when a grown man engaged in sexual activity in a women’s public bathroom – which, if Jennifer Roberts and Roy Cooper had their way, he could have argued was legal by simply claiming he felt like being in the women's bathroom. Lawmakers had several positive conversations with the NBA attempting to find common ground while keeping grown men out of bathrooms and shower facilities with women and young girls, but unfortunately the NBA withdrew from those discussions. Ultimately, the suggestion that state leaders should abandon our moral obligation to protect our constituents in order to keep one exhibition basketball game is absurd and shows a clear contrast in values."
 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.