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NHL says it will ‘reassess’ draft in Dallas if Texas passes ‘bathroom bill’

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Might the NHL be listening? We’ll see.

2017 NHL Humanitarian Awards
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his league are sending the 2018 NHL Draft to Texas.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It’s been almost two weeks since the NHL distanced itself from the LGBT community by awarding the 2018 NHL Draft to Dallas, where mandatory anti-LGBT discrimination is on the precipice of becoming law.

The league is finally backtracking a bit, saying it will “reassess” the location of the 2018 Draft if the state does indeed pass the bill. The bill mandates, among other things, that transgender people use the wrong bathroom and other public facilities.

“We strongly oppose the bill in its original form,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector. “We hope and expect that bill in that form will not be passed into law. We would obviously have to reassess the situation in the event that happens

Spector’s analysis was spot-on:

“If you’re going to call yourself an inclusive league, team up with You Can Play, and march with the Stanley Cup in Pride parades, then you’ve got to be there to back the LGBT community on issues like these. If you do not, then you are deemed phony and hollow.”

The message sent by the NHL with its draft-location selection, following the refusal to suspend a star player for using a gay slur, couldn’t have been more clear, and Spector nailed it.

If this bill passes the Texas House of Representatives (it has already been passed by the Senate and the Governor has vowed to sign it), the NHL must withdraw the Draft from Texas, just as the NBA withdrew the All-Star game from North Carolina (before racing back into the state prematurely).