The NBA has pulled the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, over the state’s bathroom law, calling it “the first time in U.S. history that a professional sporting event was moved in response to anti-LGBT legislation.”
No new host city was named, but before Thursday’s announcement, Yahoo sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski said the league was closing in on New Orleans, while ESPN reported that Chicago and Brooklyn were also viable options.
In a separate release, the NBA said it hoped to hold an All-Star Game in 2019 if North Carolina “provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.”
North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, passed March 23, requires transgender people to use the bathroom associated with the gender they were assigned at birth.
“The NBA’s announcement to move its premier event out of North Carolina is, arguably, the most crushing news since the controversial law was passed,” the league said in a statement. “The three-day event was expected to generate an estimated $100 million in revenue. Many businesses and organizations have decided to severely limit their interaction with the state. And several lawsuits have been filed against the law, including one by the U.S. Justice Department.”
“The NBA’s decision to move the 2017 All-Star Game is groundbreaking and sets an example for every other sporting body to follow,” Athlete Ally’s founder and executive director, Hudson Taylor, said following the decision. “If athletic communities believe in the principles of respect and equal treatment for their LGBT fans, then All-Star games and championship events should only be awarded to those states and cities that reflect those values.”
“Hosting an All-Star game is an honor and a privilege. Until North Carolina does the right thing and repeals HB2, it will continue to see a steady stream of organizations, companies, entertainment and sporting events leave the state for more inclusive and progressive ones,” Taylor added.