A spokesman for the National Football League (NFL) has suggested that the organization might keep future Super Bowls out of Texas if a proposed bill requiring restroom use at government-run facilities to correlate with birth gender becomes law.
“If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law [in Texas], that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Houston Chronicle last week when asked about the matter.
“The NFL embraces inclusiveness,” he said. “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.”
The measure is three pronged: It prohibits local municipalities from creating ordinances that control restroom usage at private businesses, requires those who use lavatories or locker rooms at government buildings and schools to use the men’s room if they were born a man and vice versa, and increases criminal penalties for crimes committed in restrooms, dressing rooms or locker rooms.
“A political subdivision or state agency with control over multiple-occupancy bathrooms or changing facilities in a building owned or leased by this state or the political subdivision, as applicable, shall develop a policy requiring each multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility located in the building to be designated for and used only by persons of the same biological sex,” the Act reads in part.
The legislation is backed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who outlined at a press conference in January that S.B. 6 “codifies what has been common practice in Texas and everywhere else forever—that men and women should use separate, designated bathrooms.”
On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stood firm after hearing that the NFL might keep future Super Bowls out of the state if the bill becomes law. He opined that the organization is “walking on thin ice.”
“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,” Abbott, a Roman Catholic, said during a radio interview. “They need to learn their place in the United States, which is to govern football, not politics.”
Steve McConkey, the president of 4 Winds Christian Athletics, likewise decried the NFL’s remarks.
“Hard-working Americans pay big money to go to sporting events and do not want to be told how to live by multi-million dollar sporting businesses,” he said in a statement. “The NFL continues to lose their audience, so they are employing tactics to get the younger generation involved. However, bowing to immorality is not the solution.”
“The left is using sports to further their attack on the family,” McConkey stated. “Athletes are supposed to be examples of bravery. Retired athletes, coaches, and sports ministries should be speaking up.”