The NBA needs to pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte after North Carolina passed one of the most vile anti-gay pieces of legislation in the country. It's the only right thing for the league to do if it really cares about everyone's rights.
The league issued a statement a day after House Bill 2 passed and was signed by the governor:
"The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events. We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte."
The bill prevents cities from passing laws against LGBT discrimination. A law with those provisions was set to go into law in Charlotte April 1, but the state bill nullifies it. The bill also forces transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds to the "biological sex" stated on their birth certificate.
The bill was introduced in a special session on Wednesday and passed the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory in only 12 hours. The special session to codify discrimination statewide cost North Carolina taxpayers $42,000.
The bill is now law, which is why NBA Commissioner Adam Silver should act quickly and remove the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte. No mere statements of concern are enough; it's time for action. Such an action will not have a big economic impact but it will be strongly symbolic and tell other states contemplating such bills that discrimination comes with costs.
The NCAA should also take the lead and removed NCAA men's tournament games from North Carolina that are scheduled for 2017 and 2018. "Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values," the NCAA said in a statement. "It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.''
The state of North Carolina has sent a clear message that LGBT people are lesser citizens. It's now time for sports organizations to take their business elsewhere or else they become enablers.