North Carolina

NBA Withdraws All-Star Basketball Game from Charlotte, NC, Because of Discriminatory Law

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The National Basketball Association announced that it would not hold its all-star game in Charlotte, North Carolina, due to the Legislature’s adoption of HB 2, which strikes down local laws that protect LGTB people against discrimination.

The legislation, passed in March, also mandated that transgender people use public bathrooms that match their birth gender.

The law created an immediate backlash and raised speculation that the N.B.A., the North American professional league now most identified with engagement on social issues, would conclude that it had no choice but to move the game.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, the league said it hoped to hold the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte — with the clear implication that changes to the legislation would have to be made — and that a new site for the 2017 game would be announced in the next several weeks. The game had been scheduled for Feb. 19 at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina issued a blistering statement soon after the announcement by the N.B.A. He said “the sports and entertainment elite,” among others, had “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.”

Mr. McCrory, a Republican, did not specifically refer to the N.B.A. in his statement, but he said that “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.”

Several musicians — including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Itzhak Perlman — have canceled concerts in North Carolina to protest the law, and there have been calls for repeal by a number of businesses, some of which have canceled plans to create new jobs in the state.

Governor McCrory doesn’t care about the thousands of jobs that were lost because of this unnecessary and obnoxious law. He doesn’t care that entertainers are shunning his state. But basketball? That’s a hard pill to swallow.

As I wrote previously, the brouhaha over bathrooms is absurd because most major public spaces in North Carolina already offer gender-neutral bathrooms, called “family” bathrooms.

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