by Paul Blest
Sources: NBA on brink of pulling 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, with New Orleans emerging as a front-runner to host Feb. 19 game.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 21, 2016
Wojnarowski's methods are, uh, questionable, to say the least, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been hinting at this since the law passed. From a speech he gave last week in Las Vegas:
A formal announcement on the NBA’s withdrawal out of Charlotte is expected as soon as this week, league sources said Thursday.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened to move All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte unless a discriminatory North Carolina law aimed at the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community was changed – and time to do so has run out because of the logistics and planning the NBA needs to run its marquee midseason event, league sources said.
The issue is centered on North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a law that mandates transgender people use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates. The law also omits LGBT people from North Carolina’s anti-discrimination protections, forbids local governments from widening LGBT protections and excludes all forms of workplace discrimination lawsuits from North Carolina state courts.
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan had been counting on All-Star Weekend as a signature event for his franchise, and the economic impact of losing the All-Star Game for the franchise and region promises to be dramatic.
North Carolina officials have seen this coming for a while, as well. Last month, the INDY obtained emails from Lt. Governor Dan Forest's office around the time the Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance was passed; in one of those emails dated March 24, Forest communications director Jamey Falkenbury attached the NBA's press release opposing HB 2 and wrote to Forest and others, "Hey NBA...Time warner arena can let transgenders in their bathrooms if they want! Shaking my head." (We emailed Forest for comment and to see if he still thinks HB 2 was a good idea, and will update if we get aresponse.)
I knew I would be asked about my views on the situation in North Carolina and potential ramifications on next year’s All-Star Game in Charlotte, which I hope can be resolved. While I don’t know enough about the North Carolina law to comment more fully, no one should be discriminated against. My faith and beliefs have always been the bedrock of my life. As a Christian, I am taught that we are all equal in the eyes of God. So I treat everyone the way I want to be treated—fairly, justly and equally. I hope that is how we all treat each other.All of that, however, is apparently not going to be enough to save the All-Star Game and the $195 million it would have generated for the local economy, according to an estimate from the Center for American Progress. And to add insult to injury, they're considering moving it to New Orleans, where the first incarnation of the Hornets relocated back in 2002.
What is happening here is so much bigger than a basketball game. A sovereign state is being blackmailed by a private business (NBA) who is being threatened by a national LGBT lobbying effort, all to force North Carolina to open female restrooms, showers and locker rooms up to men. All of this was done under the guise of "inclusiveness" and other politically correct buzzwords. But the reality is that had we not blocked the Charlotte Bathroom Ordinance from going into effect, sex offenders and pedofiles would have had full access to our women and children in bathrooms around the state. I enjoy the NBA and wanted them to hold the All-Star game in Charlotte but if that game comes with strings attached, strings that would expose women and children to danger, molestation, assault and voyeurism, then no thank you. Take your business elsewhere, and I have no apologies about saying that and never will. The NBA knows the economic hit North Carolina will take from this decision. I wish the NBA would likewise acknowledge the pain, sorrow and devastation a child or woman feels when they are exploited. We will never value a dollar over a woman's or child's safety and security.