Much like the NCAA pulling its championship events out of North Carolina due to the state’s controversial transgender bathroom law, the NFL has said a similar bill in Texas could affect future plans in that state.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t take kindly to that.
Senate Bill 6, which would make it illegal for transgender people from using bathrooms they feel match their gender identities, has been filed by Texas legislators. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Associated Press that if a “proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law there,” it would be a factor in awarding future events. Simply put: If the bill becomes law, that will be included in the discussion of whether Houston or Dallas gets a Super Bowl in the future.
“The NFL is walking on thin ice right here,” Abbott told conservative radio host Glenn Beck, according to the Texas Tribune. “The NFL needs to concentrate on playing football and get the heck out of politics.”
Abbott had already made a nonsensical comparison to the NFL’s “bathroom bill” comments and Tom Brady’s deflate-gate case, but his comments to Beck were a lot more forceful.
“For some low-level NFL adviser to come out and say that they are going to micromanage and try to dictate to the state of Texas what types of policies we’re going to pass in our state, that’s unacceptable,” Abbott told Beck. “We don’t care what the NFL thinks and certainly what their political policies are because they are not a political arm of the state of Texas or the United States of America. They need to learn their place in the United States, which is to govern football, not politics.”
Abbott’s comments are tough, but ultimately meaningless. The NFL has a right to take its business anywhere, and it has no obligation to give Texas any more Super Bowls. If Texas thinks its “bathroom bill” and talking tough to the NFL is more important than hosting another Super Bowl, then that’s a choice the state will make. It’s not a pressing issue anyway; the NFL has awarded Super Bowls through the 2021 season.
Houston hosted a Super Bowl this month and did a fine job. Dallas (or, more accurately, Arlington, Texas) has been a fine host for the Super Bowl before. AT&T Stadium has been home to many huge sporting events and is a great venue. If the NFL follows through on its threat both could be in danger of hosting again, no matter how much that irks Abbott.
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