By Julia Rivera, Columnist
In light of North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law, the state, and specifically the city of Charlotte, may lose the opportunity to host the 2017 NBA All-Star game.
In a radio interview with ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league has made its stance on the law very clear. House Bill 2 prevents local municipalities from passing protections against LGBT discriminations. The law, which has already cost the state millions, also requires transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender they were assigned at birth.
“We’ve been working closely with the business community down there and the governor and the legislators to make it clear that it would be problematic for us to move forward with our All-Star game if there is not a change in the law,” Silver said.
To see such a powerful organization take a stand on a very important issue speaks volumes. The NBA has placed itself in front of sports leagues in establishing all kinds of diversity as a core value. This isn’t the first time, and probably won’t be the last that the league has taken a stand against discrimination. Last year Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rando was suspended for using hate-speech against referee Bill Kennedy, who is a member of the LGBT community.
Silver said that although the NBA is looking to change venues, there is no rush to make a decision. Silver said “They know what’s at stake in terms of the All-Star game. But, I think, at least at the moment, constructive engagement on our part is the best way to go, as opposed to putting a gun to their head and saying ‘Do this or else.’”
It’s understandable that Silver is not pushing very hard against North Carolina. Since the game is still 10 months away, leaving plenty of time for him to find a different host city. However, being too laid-back about the threat of moving the game could backfire. It opens the possibility that legislators will not take the threat seriously. The longer we wait for a decision the less time he has to re-plan the event.
Pulling the game from NC would have impacts on the community, specifically the Charlotte Hornets, who look to gain major media attentions from hosting the 2-day event. Other entertainers, like Bruce Springsteen, have canceled their North Carolina shows because of House Bill 2. Silver needs to make a decision. After announcing that the league is even considering moving, some kind of action needs to be made. If he keeps waiting who knows if it will even be possible to move the event.