The League Takes a Stand On Social Issues: Moves All-Star Game from Charlotte Amid Controversial Leg
*Photo courtesy of the HuffingtonPost
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently announced that Charlotte will not host the 2017 All-Star game following the passage of House Bill 2. According to CNN’s Tal Kopan and Eugene Scott, the bill “bans individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex” and “reserves the right to pass nondiscrimination legislation to the state government, saying state laws pre-empt any local ordinances.” (BleacherReport) Past and current players took to social media to weigh in on the move. Jason Collins, who came out publically about his sexual orientation after the 2012 – 2013 season tweeted, “As a member of the NBA family and as a gay man, I’m extremely proud to see the NBA take initiative and move the All Star Game from North Carolina. Their decision is an extremely poignant one and shows that discrimination of any kind is not welcome in sports and is not acceptable in any part of our society. The NBA has set the best kind of example and precedent moving forward for all to follow.”
Not everyone shared his enthusiasm for the league’s headline move, back-to-back league MVP Stephen Curry, a Charlotte native, told Sports Center “It’s disappointing that my hometown wouldn’t be able to host the All Star Game as they had planned.” Fellow North Carolina native Chris Paul expressed his disappointment in the league’s decision on Twitter, “It’s tough. That’s home for me, North Carolina, my family and all that different stuff and all those different ties. But sometimes things have to be done, and it is what it is. The biggest thing that I hope is things (change) so that the game can be there at some point. I think those fans in North Carolina deserve it…I live on the completely other coast now, and like I said, I was excited to have the opportunity to maybe go home for that game, maybe, and play. Some things are bigger than the game.”
The decision to take a stand against discrimination was a long overdue move for the league. The NBA has slowly begun to face social controversy head on; for example, the ouster of former Los Angeles owner Donald Sterling after his racist rants went public and league’s decisive move to suspend point guard Gilbert Arenas indefinitely after he brought guns into the Washington Wizard’s locker-room. Most recently the WNBA reversed an initial decision to fine players from the Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury and New York Liberty who wore #BlackLivesMatter #dallas5 t-shirts during warm-ups to support African Americans and police officers killed in the recent shootings around the country. (ESPN.com) After years of silence and a change in leadership the NBA has changed the trajectory of the organization, they’re finally throwing their weight around and putting their money where their mouth is; it’s not in Charlotte.