NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Thursday that the 2017 All-Star Game will be moved out of Charlotte if North Carolina does not change its controversial law.
He called it “problematic” for the league to move forward with the game, scheduled for Feb. 17, if there is not a change in the law, according to ESPN. The sports network reported that Silver has “applied direct pressure” but has not yet given an ultimatum.
“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear that we believe 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 at an Associated Press meeting for sports editors on Thursday.
The law, signed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on March 24, bans people of the transgender community from using public bathrooms that don’t correspond to their biological sex, CNN stated.
A March 24 tweet by McCrory reads, “Ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women’s bathroom/locker room for instance. That’s why I signed bipartisan bill to stop it.”
ESPN reported that Silver sees a bigger issue than just the All-Star Game: the Charlotte Hornets. He and the league faced criticism for not moving the game out of North Carolina sooner, but he said it caused problems to do that and then have the Hornets host their home playoff game, according to NBA.com.
“I’m only saying that whatever we do, we have to keep an eye on the fact that we have one of our 30 franchises operating in that state,” Silver said on ESPN’s Mike & Mike on Thursday. “We have a much bigger issue in North Carolina than the All-Star Game: It’s the ongoing operation of our team.”
The NBA’s announcement is just the latest in the backlash of this law. Several musicians, such as Bruce Springsteen and former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, have canceled their North Carolina shows in boycott of the law, according to the New York Times.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and the Los Angeles City Council have enacted policies that ban all nonessential, publicly funded travel to North Carolina and Mississippi, which also passed a discriminatory LGBT law. Both states are predicting millions of dollars in tourism loss, the New York Times reported.