As Arizona Governor Jan Brewer considers the fate of SB 1062, pressure is mounting from across the sports world to see the bill vetoed. The bill would essentially legalize discrimination in Arizona, and much of the attention has been the potential law's impact on the LGBT community. Reports say that Brewer is poised to veto the bill -- a move she would be well-advised to make.
If Brewer signs the bill, she will be gambling with the state's future. Sure, Mike Huckabee may hold some "buy Arizona Iced Tea" day, and Focus On the Family may move a convention to Phoenix, but the onslaught of pressure companies will feel to leave Arizona will be profound.
The state's future hosting sporting events will also be in jeopardy. The Super Bowl is supposed to be hosted there next year, but the calls are already starting to move it if the bill becomes law. The NFL has weighed in on their opposition to the bill:
Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.
The NFL owners have gone this route once before, rescinding the right for Sun Devil Stadium to host Super Bowl XXVII in January, 1993, due to the state's ban on Martin Luther King Jr Day. They pulled the plug a couple years out, but it wouldn't be beyond the NFL to yank the Super Bowl just 10 months before the game is to be played. There are stadiums sitting empty the first Sunday in February next year in Los Angeles, Houston, New Jersey, Indianapolis, Stanford, Miami and other locations, many of which have hosted the game before. When reached for comment, Indiana Sports Corp, the group bidding to host the Super Bowl in 2018, declined to comment. Other host committees in New Jersey, New Orleans and Houston did not immediately return emails or calls.
The NFL owners meet in just four weeks -- March 23-26 -- in Orlando, Fla. Any decision to move the game would likely be made then.
It's not just the Super Bowl we're talking about. The Fiesta Bowl, held annually in Glendale, Ariz., is currently part of the national championship rotation for the new college football playoff. University of Phoenix Stadium is slated to host the national championship game on Jan. 11, 2016. Two years out from that game, the FBS will be very capable of switching locations. The Fiesta Bowl is slated to host a semifinal game the following year as well.
Any awarding of future sporting events to Arizona also becomes nearly impossible. All-Star games for MLB, NBA, NHL & MLS would all go elsewhere. NCAA basketball tournament locations will steer clear of the state.
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