The Indianapolis Colts and the NFL have both failed to utter a word about Indiana's new "religious freedom" law, but one Colts player is not silent. (The Colts have now commented, see below).
Colts punter Pat McAfee tweeted this when the new law was signed:
@GovPenceIN When you sign this "freedom" bill, will a list be published of the businesses that were asking for this law to be passed?— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) March 24, 2015
Indiana's Gov. Mike Pence has come under a lot of criticism after signing the law, which many interpret as a vehicle to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The NBA, WNBA and NCAA have issued statements reaffirming their commitment to diversity. The NBA and WNBA said:
"The game of basketball is grounded in long established principles of inclusion and mutual respect," the leagues and teams said in a joint statement. "We will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome at all NBA and WNBA events in Indiana and elsewhere."
Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon issued his own statement. "Everyone is always welcome at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That has always been the policy from the very beginning of the Simon family’s involvement and it always will be," he said.
Meanwhile, the NFL a
nd Colts owner Jim Irsay has been conspicuous by its silence. The NFL publicly opposed a similar law when it was proposed in Arizona and reportedly even threatened to move the 2015 Super Bowl from the state if the law was passed last year (it was vetoed by the governor). Irsay is a prolific Twitter presence but he has said nothing about the law. This changed Monday when Irsay tweeted this:
The Colts have always embraced inclusiveness, tolerance, and a diverse fan base. We welcome ALL fans to Colts Nation. ONE FAMILY!— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) March 30, 2015
With the popular scouting combine set for next February and with Pence stating Sunday that the law will not be changed, the league will have to take a stand sooner or later. This is an issue it can't dodge.