NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Doubles Down on League’s Transgender Activism Stance

Adam Silver
The Associated Press

National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver doubled down on the league’s activist support of transgender rights last week saying that the NBA will continue to look for ways to punish states that adopt a transgender bathroom bill.

After making the extreme move last year to cancel the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina, over the state’s HB2 bathroom law, the NBA is now looking seriously at canceling events in the State of Texas should the Lone Star State continue down the legislative path of instituting a similar bathroom law. North Carolina’s HB2 Law mandates that people using bathrooms on state property use only those facilities that correspond to their birth sex.

Speaking to the media at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans just before All-Star Saturday night, Silver refused to say outright that the NBA would launch a boycott of Texas if it does pass a bathroom bill. But, he did double down on the concept of doing so and also stood up for the league’s move in North Carolina, reported.

Silver said that if Texas passes such a bill he wasn’t yet prepared to say that would be a “bright-line test” for a boycott, but he went on to reiterate the NBA’s past statements on the issue of transgender rights.

“But what we have stated is, our values are league-wide values in terms of equality and inclusion,” Silver told the media, “that is paramount to this league and all of the members of the NBA family. Those jurisdictions that are considering legislation that is similar to HB2, are on notice that that is an important factor for us in deciding where we take a special event like an All-Star game.”

Silver also warned other states that the league would seriously consider boycotting them if they join Texas and North Carolina by passing such laws.

“In terms of laws in other jurisdictions, it is something we continue to monitor closely. I am not ready to draw bright lines. Clearly, though, the laws of the state, and ordinances of the cities are factors we look at when we decide where to play our All-Star games,” Silver exclaimed.

As to Texas, the Lone Star State’s governor, Greg Abbott, has already warned the NFL to stick to sports and leave politics to the people and their elected officials. It is likely he will have the same message for the NBA.

Abbott reacted sharply and decisively to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy’s warnings. “For some low-level NFL adviser to come out and say that they are going to micromanage and try to dictate to the state of Texas what types of policies we’re going to pass in our state, that’s unacceptable,” Abbott said last week.

Texas and North Carolina are not alone in considering a bathroom bill. Despite that these sports leagues seem to want to subvert the political process by extorting the states over the fear of losing billions in sports revenue, as they did to North Carolina last year, up to five other states are looking to pass a similar law.

Along with Texas, other states now beginning the process of debating and enacting a bathroom bill including Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington.

Meanwhile, ticket prices for the All-Star Game are plunging since the game was switched from North Carolina to New Orleans. Some are pegging that decline to the change in venue.

Silver also addressed Trump’s travel order that temporarily put a halt to immigration from seven terror-stricken countries. Silver said the president’s travel order violates American “values”:

Government restrictions on travel, I am concerned about. It goes against the fundamental values and the fundamental ingredients of what makes for a great NBA and that is the very best in the world coming here. The current state of that travel ban, of course, is that it was struck down by the court. I have nothing to add to that.

My personal view is that, from a league standpoint, we have to look out for our players. We have two players who were born in the Sudan, where, my personal view is that we have to look at specific cases and see how that potentially can impact members of the NBA family. And then, play whatever role we can in providing information to the government and monitoring the situation.

Silver failed to note that no player in any U.S. sports league has been impacted by Trump’s travel order.

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