The NBA will not move the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, North Carolina, despite pressure from high profile public figures in the wake of the state passing of its controversial HB2 bathroom law.
“The current state of the law is problematic for the league. But we’re not making any announcements now,” commissioner Adam Silver said during the NBA board of governors meetings in New York, according to The Charlotte Observer. “We can be most constructive by working with elected officials to effect change.”
The announcement was made after a letter urging the league to move the event was sent to Silver earlier this week, signed by five Democratic senators — Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, Pat Leahy of Vermont, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Patty Murray of Washington state — and Republican senator Mark Kirk of Illinois.
The senators’ letter is the latest in a groundswell of reactions against the state’s hurried passage of the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, or House Bill 2, which the state’s legislature rushed into passage on March 23, and which Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law the same day. The law requires that transgender individuals to use public restrooms according to the gender recorded on their birth certificates.
Bruce Springsteen canceled plans for a Sunday concert in Greensboro, North Carolina. On April 6, Hulu announced plans to move production of “Crushed,” a comedy pilot produced by Lionsgate Television, out of North Carolina in the wake of the new law. It will be shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, instead.
Even a porn web site, XHamster, moved to ban users signing in from North Carolina.
In the letter, the senators alluded to comments made last week by Charles Barkley, a Turner Sports analyst and former NBA player. Barkley, interviewed by CNN, said: “It’s my job, with the position of power that I’m in and being able to be on television, I’m supposed to stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves. So, I think the NBA should move the All-Star Game from Charlotte.”
“We hold no ill-will toward the people of Charlotte, who passed an anti-discrimination measure that HB2 overturned or towards the people of North Carolina,” the senators wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Politico. “However, we cannot condone nor stand idly by as North Carolina moves to legalize and institutionalize discrimination against the LGBT community.”