clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Charlotte Hornets minority owner goes on anti-trans rant after NBA pulls All-Star Game

New, 9 comments

Felix Sabates blame the Charlotte City Council for enacting LGBT protections.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Felix Sabates,a minority owner of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, was not happy when the league decided to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte in light of North Carolina passing an anti-LGBT law, HB2. He sent a letter to the entire Hornets ownership group replete anti-transgender views regarding bathroom use. I have not fixed his grammar below:

"It is shame that less then one tenth of our country is forcing the league to have such a knee jerk reaction and to deprive the citizen on our great state of having a great showcase even as the NBA All Star Game.

"Shame on those responsible for such a short sighted decision to take the NBA All Star away from Charlotte I always thought this was country that ALL peoples not just a few can determine our future.

"Our Mayor opened a can of worms, who knows why? Our city council is the one to blame for our losing the NBA All Star game, none of this would have happened if not for a very few minority forcing our supposed city leaders into creating a problem that never really existed, there will always be another election, they better pray a very few can get them re-elected.

"What is wrong with a person using a bathroom provided for the sex the were born with, if you want to change your gender so be it, we are a free county, but don’t force 8 years old children to be exposed to having to share bathroom facilities with people that don’t share the organs they were Bourne with, this is plain wrong, this could cause irreparable damages to a children’s that don’t understand why they have to see what God did not mean for them to witness, we have some very confused business as well as political humans that frankly have made this a political issue rather then moral issues, SHAME ON THEM."

You can read the entire letter here.

To recap: Sabates says the fault lies with Charlotte City Council for passing an LGBT rights ordinance that gave transgender people the right to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. In reaction, North Carolina's Republican legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory rushed a bill through that overrode what Charlotte did and forces trans people to use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Sabates is blaming the city for trying to protect rights and not the state for trying to take them away. And his ugly language about bathroom use is disgusting transphobia.

Neither the Hornets nor the NBA commented on Sabates' letter. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver needs to seriously considering sanctioning Sabates for his remarks. In contrast, Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan said he understood the NBA's reason and was heartened that the league is considering putting the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte if HB2 is gone.

Sabates is also a partner in the NASCAR team Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Kevin Ramsell, who has had different roles in auto racing as a reporter, track and series public relations, driver public relations, and columnist sent this open letter to Sabates. Ramsell is openly gay:

Mr. Sabates:

In a February 22, 2016 Charlotte Observer newspaper article entitled, "Charlotte City Council approves LGBT protections in 7-4 vote," it has the following paragraphs.

"The changes mean businesses in Charlotte can't discriminate against gay, lesbian or transgender customers, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion and gender. The ordinance applies to places of public accommodation, such as bars, restaurants and stores. It also applies to taxis.

"The most controversial part of the ordinance would allow transgender residents to use either a men's or women's bathroom, depending on the gender with which they identify.

The bathroom provision sparked the most opposition, with opponents mostly worried about the safety of women and girls in a public bathroom with people who were born male. Supporters said those fears were overblown, and that transgender people are at risk of violence in the bathroom."

While the primary focus of the HB2 law in the media has been the "bathroom law" many are not looking at what is said in the first paragraph.

The main reason for this bill was not for the bathroom provision, but the City of Charlotte was passed a bill that they cannot discriminate against gay, lesbian, or transgender customers.  Basically, they are saying that people cannot discriminate based on race, age, religion and gender; they cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation.

What you need to realize is that HB2 that Gov. McCrory signed removed that provision as well.  That, I believe, is the main reason the NBA decided to move the All-Star game from Charlotte, not because of the bathroom provision.

Are you in agreement that members of the LGBT community should not have the same protections as those that are based on other forms of discrimination in this country?  Are you saying that if someone is gay, they could be fired from their job just for that reason?  Are you agreeing with someone being denied a home or apartment because they are a lesbian?  Are you agreeing with the removal of this provision as a whole?

Is it not fair for LGBT people to be penalized for who they are?  If you are going to answer that this is a "choice," the choice was accepting who we are and living our lives to the fullest as who we are.

If not, I would highly recommend writing a letter not based on your knee-jerk reaction but with a thoughtful response after understanding the whole picture of what HB2 is all about.

Not only are you a minority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, you are also a member of the ownership group for the NASCAR team Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.  Let me remind you that both NASCAR, and one of Ganassi's primary sponsors in not only NASCAR but also in Indy Car is Target, both have come out against HB2.

In fact, Target is under pressure from all sides about allowing transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.

Do you realize that this letter you have written could have negative results to not only the Charlotte Hornets, but to Chip Ganassi Racing as a whole?

I don't think you realize the entire picture of what is happening in regards to HB2.  You, like many others, are only focusing on the bathroom part.  You need to realize what the City of Charlotte's goal was ... to make their city LGBT friendly and provide them the same protection as someone's race, gender, religion, and age.

As a gay American, who proudly works in auto racing, I am embarrassed that someone in your capacity wrote this letter.  With your background and the freedoms you have enjoyed as a Cuban American, this letter is very sad and ignorant.  You should not have hit the "Send" button.

Regards,

Kevin Ramsell