NEW YORK (AP) Technology industry leaders have urged NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to move the All-Star Game out of Charlotte unless a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people is repealed “in very short order.”
In a letter sent Friday and obtained by The Associated Press, the executives tell Silver that putting fans at risk of discrimination would “send a terrible message about who the NBA is and what it values as an organization, and set a dangerous precedent.”
“If the NBA holds events in North Carolina while HB2 remains law, players, employees, and fans will be at risk of discrimination – and that’s wrong,” the letter said.
The All-Star weekend is set for next February. Silver has made it clear the league needs changes to the HB2 law in order to stage the weekend there but has resisted setting any deadlines for when he might act, believing positive dialogue is ongoing.
However, he has said a decision probably would have to be made this summer.
The letter was sent by SV Angel founder and co-managing partner Ron Conway and includes signatures from executives from companies such as Google, Reddit, PayPal, Lyft and Pinterest. They ask the NBA to be a “strong ally to the LGBTQ community” and use “its considerable might to bring advocates into those conversations and press for full repeal of the law.”
“The NBA has nothing to lose by taking a stand alongside hundreds of other companies and showing support for its LGBTQ players, employees, and fans,” the letter said.
A number of entertainment acts have canceled North Carolina events because of the law, and Silver has already received calls for the NBA to do the same. The letter comes from some people who might be at All-Star weekend – the league holds a tech summit as part of the events.
“Discrimination is bad for the league, bad for people and bad for business and we hope you will join us in sending that message, loud and clear in North Carolina,” the letter said.
NBA owners are holding their annual offseason meeting this week in Las Vegas.
(PBT note from Las Vegas: The NBA rumor mill says if the game is moved it likely lands in Orlando.)