The NBA announced Thursday that it is moving the 2017 All-Star Game, which had been scheduled to be played in Charlotte. The New York Times reports that the move is a protest against a North Carolina law that eliminated anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“The move was among the most prominent consequences since the law, which also bars transgender people from using bathrooms in public buildings that do not correspond with their birth gender, was passed in March,” The Times reports. “The league, which has become increasingly involved in social issues, said that both it and the Hornets, the NBA team based in Charlotte, had been talking to state officials about changing the law but that time had run out because of the long lead time needed to stage the game.”
The league indicated that it hopes the game can return to Charlotte in 2019, with the report noting that the implication is that the law would have to be changed before then.
In a statement, the NBA said: “While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by the current law.”
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory responded harshly, issuing a statement assailing “the sports and entertainment elite” and indicating that those behind the decision had “misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present.”
The league is expected to announce the new site for the 2017 All-Star Game in the next few weeks, with the game to be played in February.