The NBA announced its decision on Thursday to move its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of a North Carolina law that restricts multiple-person public bathrooms on government property to those matching the biological sex indicated on the entrances.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory issued an immediate blistering response.
“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,” Governor McCrory stated in a response. “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.”
The NBA, which enthusiastically travels to China in October for preseason games, issued a statement explaining the decision to bail on a city that built an arena for league use for more than a quarter-billion dollars more than a decade ago. The statement in part read:
Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.
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.
We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.
The NBA indicated that Charlotte could reapply to host its All-Star Game in 2019 should lawmakers repeal House Bill 2, which allows girls to use public school restrooms without fear of an invasion of privacy by a member of the opposite sex and moms to use rest-stop restrooms without sharing them with males. The NBA promises to name a replacement host for 2017’s All-Star Game soon. Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the league leans toward New Orleans.
The NBA, which didn’t admit an African-American player until its fourth season, remains, like the WNBA and state-operated public bathrooms in the Tar Heel State, the domain of a single sex.