For months the NBA had resisted pulling All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte. The debate had centered around North Carolina’s House Bill 2, legislation which banned transgendered people from using the bathroom of their choice. This is based on the idea of preventing sexual assault despite the marked absence of any such evidence that this actually happens. This inevitably angered the LGBTQ community, leading to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s waffling on the topic before finally joining a long list of boycotting groups that included big names like Pepsi and Lionsgate.
Governor Pat McCrory reserved some choice words for the move, “Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children.”
What McCrory confuses is the difference between intimidation and a boycott. Generally speaking, boycotts are both effective and peaceful, when you can actually pull them off. Taking a shot in the wallet is pretty painful, and to be frank, I wasn’t sure if Silver had the wherewithal to pull the trigger. What was especially puzzling was that the NBA and WNBA were the first major professional sports leagues to lend their official support to Pride even before their eventual July 21st decision.
The NBA has in general been the most progressive of the major men’s leagues, and it’s time for the rest to follow. For now, the next step would be ensuring that the All-Star Weekend moves to a city with a reasonable track record of human rights. It’ll be nice to reach the day when this finally isn’t news.