National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver has put North Carolina on notice that the league is not quite done extorting the state over its bathroom law.
During last weekend’s media availability at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans just ahead of All-Star Saturday night, Silver warned Texas not to pass its own bathroom bill or risk receiving the same punishment leveled by the league on North Carolina.
But Silver also revisited what the league did to North Carolina last year by canceling the All-Star Game scheduled for Charlotte and moving it to Louisiana. The move was made because of North Carolina’s HB2 Law that mandates that people using bathrooms on state property use only those facilities corresponding to their birth sex, not the sex they feel like assigning to themselves.
Silver noted that he is considering bringing the All-Star Game back to North Carolina if the state repeals its HB2 law.
“I have talked to Governor Cooper, the new Governor of North Carolina since he was elected, really to express our desire to return to North Carolina [in 2019] for our All-Star Game,” Silver said in New Orleans. “We have a team in North Carolina. We have a development team, soon to be a G-League team, in North Carolina. And 20 other teams will visit North Carolina this season. So we’d very much like to get back there.”
“We had a discussion so I understood, certainly, his position, when he was running for office, was anti-HB2, the bill that ultimately led to our leaving,” Silver continued. “So I really was talking to him more to understand, from his standpoint, how he was hoping to move forward in terms of changing that law. My pain purpose of talking to him was to express our desire to return.”
This, of course, is an extortion plot with Silver directly saying that if the state’s duly elected lawmakers don’t bend to the will of a mere sports league and subvert their own political and legislative process, then the NBA will continue to hold the state’s economic well-being hostage.
The NBA isn’t the only sports league looking to extort states over political ideology, of course. The NCAA and the ACC also punished North Carolina over its bathroom law.
The NFL jumped into the fray as well, by warning Texas not to pass its own version of North Carolina’s HB2 law. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy warned Texas that the league would take The Lone Star State out of the running for future Super Bowls if such a law makes the books.
Needless to say, Texas Governor Greg Abbott did not take kindly to the NFL’s threats.
Still, with all these threats and punishments flying around among half a dozen sports leagues, the outcome proves that none of these leagues really have the courage of their convictions. It is all Sturm und Drang signifying nothing — at least meaning no real sacrifice for the leagues.
After all, notice what the leagues are doing as a protest in support of Black Lives Matter or transgender rights. These leagues are moving games that are easily moved, games that are above and beyond their regular season bouts. They are moving All-Star Games and tournaments, but notice what they aren’t doing? They aren’t taking a real stand by disenfranchising or somehow sanctioning teams in the states they want to punish.
In other words, the leagues are making loud statements but making no real sacrifices to prove their convictions.
Furthermore, with the always escalating demands of liberals taken as a given, how long will social justice warriors be placated by these easy shows of force by the leagues? How long will it be until they demand that the leagues stop doing all business in states with laws that run against the will of the left? How long until social justice warriors begin demanding that the leagues pull out of these states altogether?
We can see a test example in the case of the Washington Redskins. Initially, the social justice warriors only demanded that the team change its name. But it wasn’t long before activists graduated to demanding that the league take action and force the team to change its name. Finally, since the league hasn’t taken any concerted action, these same activists then graduated to appealing to the city, state, and federal governments to bring a boot heel to the neck of Redskins management and ownership.
The left always escalates its actions, and it won’t be long before the social warrior set realizes just how empty these moves are by the leagues that have punished North Carolina and are now threatening Texas. Are the leagues prepared to really hurt themselves financially as well as with the fans all just to uphold their proclaimed political beliefs? If not, isn’t what they are doing now empty of real conviction?
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.