By Tyler Murphy

The NBA’s decision to move its yearly All-Star game from Charlotte takes the prize for the most profound financial statement against North Carolina’s questionable HB2 law (The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, or “House Bill 2”). Dubbed “the Bathroom Bill”, it has been a point of contention since it was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory in March of this year. The state law refuses to grant sexual orientation the same protections as race and religion, while forbidding local governments from implementing ordinances that would do so.

The fallout has been nothing short of disastrous for North Carolina, both from a civil rights and a financial perspective. Apart from the strong ethical opposition from corporations and lawmakers alike, HB2 has resulted in a staggering $400 million in business and tourism losses for the state.

Despite the fact that the Charlotte Hornets are a private enterprise, and HB2 does not apply to the private sector, the NBA is sending a targeted message by relocating its prestige event and standing by the LGBT community. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated that he and the NBA believe HB2 is “discriminatory”. The NBA’s choice to relocate the All-Star game will cost North Carolina an estimated $110 million in sports tourism revenue and has sent a clear message regarding the League’s posture where civil rights are concerned.

Photo by Keith Allison via Flickr

“We, of course, have a team in Charlotte, North Carolina. So we as a league want to make sure there is an environment where the LGBT community feels protected down in North Carolina.” – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

League MVP, Stephen Curry took a clear stand against the controversial law: “I’m all for equal and fair rights and treatment for everybody. Until it gets addressed, until some changes are made, this could be a recurring theme in North Carolina. I don’t want that to happen.”

While the league could have taken the path of least resistance, considering the logistics of relocating a major sporting event, they instead decided to plant their feet firmly on the right side of civil rights. This is nothing short of a major PR win.

(Photograph by Keith Allison, distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 License)