2018 nfl draft

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Texas poised to lose NFL Draft, Super Bowls if anti-trans bathroom bill becomes law

The NFL has threatened to pull out Super Bowls in the past, too.


Ana Valens


Posted on Jun 12, 2017   Updated on May 23, 2021, 3:29 am CDT

Under Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s guidance, a special legislative session has been called to discuss a bill that would force transgender Texans to use the bathroom aligned with their birth sex, not their gender identity. But if the bill becomes law, the NFL may move its 2018 draft out of the state.

The NFL Draft happens annually each year, giving NFL teams the opportunity to draft college players into the professional league. And its economic impact for host city rests in dozens of millions, with Chicago receiving $80 million in financial gain after hosting last year.

“If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law there, that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said to the Chicago Tribune.

The alleged anti-transgender bill would go into effect this September, and its impact wouldn’t be limited to the draft. The NFL has previously threatened to move future Super Bowls out of Texas, which would be devastating for the state. Seeing how the 2017’s Super Bowl LI had a $347 million economic impact, the state’s citizens would lose out if the NFL pulls out of Texas.

“The NFL embraces inclusiveness,” McCarthy told the Houston Chronicle. “We want all fans to feel welcomed at our events, and NFL policies prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”

This isn’t the first time a major professional sports league has threatened to remove an event from a state over anti-LGBTQ laws. The NBA previously pulled the 2017 NBA All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, after the state passed its anti-trans bathroom bill House Bill 2. The NCAA similarly threatened to pull over 130 games from North Carolina, until the state finally passed a partial repeal of H.B. 2. And the NFL previously considered moving Super Bowl XLIX outside of Arizona over an anti-LGBTQ religious freedom bill. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer (R) later vetoed the measure, under pressure from both the NFL and the MLB.

H/T the Chicago Tribune

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*First Published: Jun 12, 2017, 9:57 am CDT