Everyone who knows me knows this about me: I don't follow sports news.
But this is not just sports news. This is the news that perfectly highlights on the day of Donald Trump's speech accepting the GOP nomination why his party has become the home of those pining for a bygone era.
The NBA has announced that it will relocate its 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, NC, in protest of North Carolina's HB2, a state law banning its cities and municipalities from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances that would protect LGBT North Caolinians. The law, passed by an all Republican-controlled state government, nullified ordinances protecting gay and transgender rights in several North Carolina cities including in Charlotte, in effect instituting state support for such discrimination.
The NBA and other sports leagues are sending a big message that that regressive Republican efforts to institute discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation will not be taken lightly, and that inclusion is the American way. And because sports are big money generators - for example, the 2015 NBA All Star game generated almost $300 million in economic activity, their decision to tip the scale in favor of equality and fairness can have a big impact on state houses. Because now, they are no longer talking about losing the support of a disadvantaged community but rather of the broad base of the state's citizens and especially businesses.
Let us be clear. There is no liberty - religious or otherwise - that allows public businesses and accommodations to discriminate based on race, faith, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity. A business-owner has the right to believe as they wish, but not the right to discriminate in the place of their business when they are offering services or products to the general public and enjoying the protections of the laws which all people - regardless of where we come from and whom we love - pay taxes to uphold and enforce. A school funded with tax dollars cannot be allowed to discriminate against just "some" students.
Everyone has the right to practice their faith in private - or even preach to a congregation who listen by their own choice, but no one has the right to use their faith to deny others' right to believe, love, and live as they choose. If we fail to uphold either side of this scale, we give consent to bigotry, discrimination, and ultimately, mob rule.
While America becomes more inclusive, more accepting, and less bigoted, the Republican party has sought to aid their electoral fortunes by amplifying the voices of bigotry. From portrayals of "welfare queens" to scaring parents about transgender women being allowed to use the ladies' room, form relentless opposition and unprecedented hatred of the first black president to pronouncing that the Supreme Court need not be obeyed on marriage equality, the Republican party has chosen the side of bigotry.
Nothing could have exemplified better the bigotry that has overwhelmed their party than the man who is accepting their nomination tonight.
And nothing could have exemplified better mainstream America's move away from the ground the GOP is desperately trying to hold onto than major league sports' willingness to move beyond mere statements of condemnation against GOP state-sponsored bigotry and deliver real consequences for that bigotry.