NBA – Players shocked by All-Star move out of Charlotte



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LAS VEGAS — Under NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the league has been forceful and proactive on social issues that were important to its players like gun violence, the Donald Sterling scandal and controversial police and legal cases with the African-American community.

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But relocating the All-Star Game from Charlotte in reaction to North Carolina’s controversial anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender law is wholly uncharted territory for Silver, the NBA and a major professional sports league.

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This was Silver leading, not just responding to public calls from players and owners.

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If anything, many players seemed genuinely torn on whether moving the All-Star Game because of the controversial bill — which has been colloquially oversimplified as a “bathroom bill” — was worth the disappointment of losing the game for Charlotte.

Indiana Pacers Jerseys forward Paul George told ESPN on Thursday, “I’m huge on keeping your word. I’m not necessarily saying it’s bad for the NBA to move it. Charlotte is a growing city and the Hornets have picked that program up. It’s a shame … we’d take that away from them.”

But Silver felt strongly that the cheap NBA could not allow one of its signature public events to take place in a state where there are now no protections against discrimination for LGBT people at places such as restaurants, hotels or in taxis.

Silver explained during his annual news conference during the NBA Finals that “we as a league want to make sure there is an environment where the LGBT community feels protected down in North Carolina. At the same time, I think the bathroom issue discount nba jerseys, frankly, has become a little bit of a distraction. From the very beginning, that was not the core issue here. It was protection for the LGBT community in terms of economic rights, personal rights, and the bathroom bill became part of it.”

Many players expressed disappointment for Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who had been thrilled when Charlotte was chosen as host of the 2017 All-Star Game. AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Sources told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that openly gay Golden State Warriors Jerseys president Rick Welts made an impassioned plea to the NBA’s owners at last week’s Board of Governors meeting to explain how discriminatory this particular law was to the LGBT community.

Still, the decision to relocate the game Thursday came as a shock to many NBA players.

Toronto Raptors Jerseys wholesale guard Kyle Lowry learned of the NBA’s decision when he got an alert on his cellphone before Team USA’s practice. “Oh wow, they moved it,” Lowry said, as he held his phone out to show Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes.

Barnes said he felt like it was important to choose the political causes that resonate personally with you, and not to jump into the fray on every controversial issue he was asked about.

“Now that we’re able to speak out on issues, there’s no real standard about what you have to say,” Barnes said. “I think you can talk about whatever is on your mind or in your heart. Other issues you can’t.

“I think you kind of lose some credibility if all of a sudden on social media, you may not know what you’re talking about but you’re just weighing in on everything.” –>

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony told ESPN that the players “didn’t think it was going to get to this” and that he was disappointed for Hornets owner Michael Jordan and the city of Charlotte because the game was “definitely going to boost everything.”

Anthony, of course, has been one of the most vocal players in trying to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition to the call to action he posted on Instagram and the speech he, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and LeBron James made at the ESPYs, Anthony has been organizing a meeting in Los Angeles on Monday to discuss sensitive racial and cultural issues.

Anthony has been warned by advisers that such a public forum could begin with good intentions but end with uncomfortable consequences once people begin speaking freely on emotional, controversial issues. He said Thursday he would press on with the conversation anyway. “I won’t listen to anybody that tells me I shouldn’t do this or shouldn’t do that,” Anthony said.

“Right now, the players and people have a very strong stance on what’s going on and what they believe in,” Anthony said of his activism in response to recent incidents between police officers and African-Americans. “The problem is, people don’t have answers. I think everybody is searching for answers. People are searching for what to do and how to do it. We’re not going to find answers overnight. It’s not going to happen. It’s following through with the message I have out there and continuing that conversation.”

This is the next step now that players have started to venture out from beyond the safety of hashtag activism on social media. And maybe that was the point of Silver’s decision to relocate the game Thursday without knowing he had a full buy-in from his players and owners. Take some time. Think, research, learn, then speak publicly if you feel compelled. Not everyone will agree. Not everyone will like what is said. But this door is wide open now, and there’s probably no closing it.

It’s the risk Silver assumed when he made the decision to relocate the All-Star Game. In the end, he decided to do it anyway, trusting that his players and owners will understand Silver’s decision to wade into social activism and say no to discrimination by pulling the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte.

Kevin Durant declined comment when first asked by ESPN about the NBA’s decision after Team USA’s practice. He said he needed some time to think about it and study it.

During the next few hours, that’s what he did. One person close to the situation told him about Welts’ personal experiences as a gay man in the NBA. Durant read one of the many articles that have been written on Welts throughout the years.

After a few hours, he composed his thoughts on Twitter.

“I recognize this was a tough decision for the NBA but respect the choice,” Durant wrote. “Discrimination of any kind cannot be allowed.”

Hornets owner Felix Sabates blasts NBA, Charlotte

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After the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of the league’s objection to the state’s House Bill 2, the league issued a statement supporting the Hornets. However, one of the team’s owners is not ready to praise the decision.

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Hornets co-owner Felix Sabates sent an email to the team’s ownership grouping after the NBA’s announcement blasting the league and the Charlotte City Council.

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“Shame on those responsible for such a short sighted decision to take the NBA All Star away from Charlotte I always thought this was country that ALL peoples not just a few can determine our future,” he wrote in the email that was obtained by the Charlotte Observer.

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Sabates’ criticism comes after the Hornets and chairman Michael Jordan issued a statement on Thursday saying “we understand the NBA’s decision” and are “pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star Weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019.” The NBA also weighed in defending the team and the city:

“It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons — including members of the LGBT community — feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena,” the league said.

Michael Jordan and the Hornets issued a statement cheap jerseys supporting the league, but not all of the ownership team is onboard. Grant Halverson/Getty Images

HB2 reversed a Charlotte ordinance that added gay and transgender people to the list of classes of people protected against discrimination in the city.

“Our Mayor opened a can of worms, who knows why?” Sabates wrote. “One Our city council is the one to blame for our losing the NBA All Star game, none of this would have happened if not for a very few minority forcing our supposed city leaders into creating a problem that never really existed, there will always be another election, they better pray a very few can get them re-elected.

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“What is wrong with a person using a bathroom provided for the sex the (sic) were born with, if you want to change your gender so be it, we are a free county, but don’t force 8 years old children to be exposed to having to share bathroom facilities with people that don’t share the organs they were Bourne (sic) with, this is plain wrong, this could cause irreparable damages to a children’s that don’t understand why wholesale jerseys they have to see what God did not mean for them to witness, we have some very confused business as well as political humans that frankly have made this a political issue rather then (sic) moral issues, SHAME ON THEM.”

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