NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy had a warning for Texas this week about the so-called “bathroom bill” the state has introduced to its legislature. McCarthy claimed that any proposal seen as discriminatory could lead to cities in the state no longer receiving Super Bowl hosting duties.
Texas, and 13 other states have have recently introduced “bathroom bills” similar to HB2, which was passed in North Carolina in March of 2016. That bill led to huge backlashes against the state and sports were impacted in a major way. The NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte and the NCAA relocated several collegiate championship games from the state as well. North Carolina has yet to repeal the bill despite massive opposition within the state.
Here’s what McCarthy had to say about the issue:
“If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law there, that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events.
“We want all fans to feel welcomed at our events and NFL policies prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”
The NFL will almost certainly not be the last sports league to weigh in on this issue. The NCAA has already made its feelings known for this kind of bill, and the Final Four is scheduled to be in San Antonio next year. If the measure passes it’s a safe bet the NCAA would look to move to a city it deemed more welcoming.
Houston hosted this year’s Super Bowl and the net economic benefit for the city was expected to be around $350 million. Arlington hosted the 2011 Super Bowl as well. Both cities are firmly in the NFL’s rotation for the big game, and being taken out would certainly cause a negative economic impact to the region.
We’ll see how this plays out, but it sounds like Texas and other states are headed down the same road North Carolina traversed when it approved HB2. Sports leagues are watching and clearly aren’t fans of the idea.