OAKLAND –- The NBA’s decision Thursday to move its 2017 All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte as a result of a North Carolina law widely perceived as discriminatory was hailed around the league as another necessary blow to bigotry and intolerance.
The Warriors, affected by such matters on a level more personally than most, practically stood and cheered.
As the first openly gay executive for a major American sports team, Warriors chief operating officer Rick Welts has particular appreciation for the league’s decision.
“I applaud the NBA for today’s announcement,” Welts said in a statement. “This has been a thoughtful and deliberate process that reflects a tremendous effort by the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA to respect all points of view in reaching a decision consistent with the core values of out league.”
The bill, Senate House Bill 2, singles out members of the LGBT community, stripping them of full protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.
The NBA’s decision to vacate Charlotte amounts to a partial boycott; the Charlotte Hornets are not leaving. League commissioner Adam Silver said in June that his concerns were less about transgender individuals being forced to use public bathrooms based on their sex at birth but more about stripping personal and economic protections from members of the LGBT community.
It was back in April that Silver suggested that HB2 could result in the league moving All-Star Weekend. The commissioner maintained a dialogue, saying on June 2 that a resolution would be reached by summer’s end.
With no such resolution in sight, Silver made the decision to back out of Charlotte. New Orleans is considered the likeliest choice as the alternative site for the weekend of Feb 16-19, 2017. -30-