NEW YORK (AP) — Charlotte will be eligible to host the 2019 All-Star Game after a compromise deal to replace a North Carolina law that limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday.
The league’s Board of Governors discussed it during their meetings this week and made what Silver said was “not an easy decision.” He says it’s “not a done deal” that Charlotte will get the game, because the league would need assurances of anti-discriminatory policies for venues that would host its events and hotels they would use.
But Silver said it is his “expectation” that Charlotte would get the game if those assurances were met. He said those requirements would need to be met within the next month or so.
“We are excited that the NBA has once again made the City of Charlotte eligible to host All-Star Weekend in 2019,” the Charlotte Hornets said in a statement. “We look forward to resuming our discussions with the league on the next steps regarding this international event. We know that our city, our fans and our business community remain extremely enthusiastic in support of hosting NBA All-Star Weekend.”
Charlotte was scheduled to host the game this year, but the NBA pulled it over its objection to the law known as the “bathroom bill.” The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority estimated the yanked event would have generated about $100 million in economic impact. That was part of more than $3.76 billion over a dozen years in lost business as a consequence of HB2, an Associated Press analysis found.
Gay-rights advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union have denounced North Carolina legislation passed last week to undo HB2 as inadequate.
The mayors of New York, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City and other cities announced this week that previous municipal bans on taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina will stay in place because discrimination persists in the replacement law.
The measure left some LGBT restrictions in place, including a moratorium until December 2020 on local governments passing broad nondiscrimination ordinances covering sexual orientation and gender identity. While the new law ended the HB2 provision requiring transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to their birth certificates, state lawmakers remain in charge of future bathroom policies.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said it was the best compromise that the Republican-controlled legislature would approve. The deal was done ahead of a deadline by the NCAA, which removed championship events from basketball-crazy North Carolina for the current academic year and threatened to exclude the state from hosting any new ones through 2022.
On Tuesday, the collegiate athletic association expressed concerns about the new law’s provisions but said it “meets the minimal NCAA requirements” to keep North Carolina in consideration as a host for championship events.
The replacement law is an “important step forward in protecting people from discrimination and bringing jobs and sports back to North Carolina and helping to repair our reputation,” Cooper said.