By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
July 22, 2016
RALEIGH – The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced on Thursday it was moving the 2017 All-Star Game away from Charlotte. Commissioner Adam Silver had threatened the state with the possibility shortly after HB 2 was passed by the state legislature and signed by the Governor in March.
A statement released by the major basketball league read in part that they didn’t believe they could host their “All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB 2.”
The NBA also said they hoped Charlotte would be the host for the 2019 All-Star Game, but the decision would be made on the condition that there was an “appropriate resolution” to HB 2.
HB 2 – Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act is a measure, now law in the state, that simply says private businesses may establish whatever bathroom policies they deem appropriate, but access to public accommodations (government bathrooms) is to be determined by biological sex. It also prevents cities from adopting ordinances that force private businesses, churches, and religious organizations to promote ideas or participate in events that conflict with their beliefs.
Loss of the game is said to cost Charlotte approximately $100 million.
Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign hailed the decision and celebrated the loss, saying, “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 McCrory, however, responded with his own statement, arguing that 21 other states had “joined the Tar Heel state 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,” added the Governor. “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 processes.”
Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest echoed McCrory’s sentiments, contending, “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.”
Sen. Phil Berger, president pro-tem of the Senate said the NBA’s demands were “absurd and shows a clear contrast in values.”
While House Speaker Tim Moore eloquently stated it was the City of Charlotte that “set the forces in motion that ultimately led to this outcome.” Although it was “unfortunate that Charlotte will not be hosting this event next year,” said Moore. “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.”
According to an email obtained by the North State Journal (NSJ), Felix Sabates, a minority owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA team, also blamed Charlotte’s Mayor and City Council for the mess, saying the “Mayor opened a can of worms.”
The NSJ reports Sabates as saying, “None of this would have happened if not for a very few minority forcing our supposed city leaders into creating a problem that never really existed, there will always be another election, they better pray a very few can get them re-elected.”
Some pointed out the rank hypocrisy of the NBA’s position.
In a Facebook Post, Ryan T. Anderson, a William E. Simon Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and Founder and Editor of the online journal Public Discourse, noted that “[t]he NBA (and its sister organization, the WNBA) apparently think bathroom access shouldn’t be based on biology, but basketball leagues should.”
Anderson continued, “The NBA and WNBA, of course, are free to have gender-neutral basketball teams – and to have gender-neutral bathrooms at those games. That they are threatening the state to impose a policy that even they haven’t voluntarily adopted is the height of hypocrisy.”
Anderson called the NBA’s stance “another example of ‘cultural cronyism’…at the expense of the common good.”
North Carolina’s U.S. Congressman Robert Pittenger also criticized the NBA’s decision as hypocritical.
“Last week, I met with constituents from China who outlined the Chinese government practice of forcefully harvesting vital organs as part of their oppression of religious minorities. Meanwhile, the NBA will start selling tickets for pre-season games in China next week. Is the NBA implying China’s abhorrent violation of basic human rights is acceptable, but North Carolina saying men shouldn’t use the girls’ locker room is a bridge too far? What is the NBA’s true priority? The unmistakable hypocrisy is clear to me,” said Pittenger.
“The NBA’s actions prove there is a new enemy to the common good today. It is a ferocious secularist intolerance to shame and punish people, even an entire state, if it does not bow down to its upside down morality, where right is wrong and wrong is right,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “I find it ironic that our state’s own motto, Esse Quam Videri, meaning “to be and not to seem” is challenged in this way. If our state capitulates to this new enemy, real tolerance, love, compassion, and any sense of authentic justice will depart from us. Our glory as a nation will have surely departed, perhaps forever. North Carolina must win this fight for the sake of our nation.”
The NBA is reportedly considering Atlanta or New Orleans as alternatives for its All-Star Game.