Since the introduction of House Bill 2 (HB2) in North Carolina, there has been plenty of scrutiny surrounding Charlotte's ability to host the 2017 All-Star weekend.
In essence, HB2 prevents transgender people from using bathrooms in government buildings and schools based on their gender identity, meaning they would have to use the bathroom of their birth.
Furthermore, the law nullified any local laws that would protect gay or transgender people from being fired from their jobs for their sexual orientation or identity, which many people feel could lead to a wider acceptance of discrimination in the state.
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However, private companies, like the Charlotte Hornets, remain free to set their own bathroom and nondiscrimination policies.
Charlotte Hornets owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan gave a statement to the Charlotte Observer in response to an interview request regarding HB2 and the potential discrimination towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender community.
“As my organisation has stated previously, the Charlotte Hornets and Hornets Sports & Entertainment are opposed to discrimination in any form, and we have always sought to provide an inclusive environment,” Jordan said.
“As has been the case since the building opened, we will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome while at work or attending NBA games and events at Time Warner Cable Arena.”
It's great to see that MJ has made his stance so clear on the matter and he appears to share the progressive, modern day view of society that the NBA lives by.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has avoided giving North Carolina any ultimatums regarding the sensitive matter thus far and he's clearly monitoring developments closely.
“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event,” Silver said recently, meeting with members of the Associated Press Sports Editors.
The Charlotte Observer reports that earlier that same day, during an interview on ESPN Radio, Silver said, “They know what’s at stake in terms of the All-Star Game. But, at least at the moment, constructive engagement on our part is the best way to go, as opposed to putting a gun to their head and saying, ‘Do this or else.’ ”
Silver appears more than fair in his approach to such a hot-button topic that affects so many. Previous All-Star weekends have reportedly garnered the host city in excess of $100 million and, should it come to it, Charlotte would not want to be deprived of such boost to their economy.
The NFL has already said it will not move the league meetings scheduled in Charlotte between May 23-25 in response to the HB2 controversy, however, a behind closed doors meeting and a celebratory weekend that caters to thousands upon thousands of people are two totally different things.