This out gay NBA executive helped move the 2017 All Star game from North Carolina
An out gay NBA executive helped to influence the decision to move the 2017 All Star game away from North Carolina in protest against the state’s anti-LGBT law.
The NBA announced last week that it had opted to move its 2017 All Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, in protest against the state’s anti-LGBT HB2, which was introduced this year.
The league previously said it was “deeply concerned” by North Carolina’s recently passed HB2, which rolled back pre-existing LGBT rights protections.
The NBA had previously hinted that it might move the February 2017 game out of Charlotte, but later said it would prefer to keep a “presence” in the state.
But it has emerged that out gay Golden State Warriors president Rick Welts had influenced the decision at an NBA board meeting at which he said he would not be comfortable at the All Star game if it were in Charlotte.
USA Today reports that Welts’ words “weren’t emotional” but that he simply said he would not attend if the game were to take place in North Carolina.
In a lengthy statement on Thursday, the NBA said it was going to move the game out of the state, and that it will look for a suitable replacement in the coming weeks.
The statement does give North Carolina one last chance to “resolve” the situation, presumably by repealing HB2.
The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019.
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 will make an announcement on the new location of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in the coming weeks.
It was thought that HB2 would be repealed or revised in North Carolina, but lawmakers in the state last month adjourned, leaving the law barely changed.
Previously tweeting, the NBA said it was “deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principals of equality and mutual respect and do not know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte.”
“It would be easy to say we’re moving it,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver clarified on Friday.
“We feel there’s a constructive role for the league to play. If we announce we’re moving it now, what’s the incentive to change the law?”
Springsteen was even accused of using “bully tactics” for cancelling the concert by one of the state’s Representatives.
But dozens of celebrities and hundreds of fans came to the defence of Springsteen, commending him for taking a stand.