Sabates irked at move of 2017 All-Star game


WASHINGTON: Charlotte Hornets co-owner Felix Sabates is irked that the NBA is moving the 2017 All-Star Game from the North Carolina city over a state law that has caused an uproar in the gay and transgender community.

The NBA announced on Thursday it was pulling the game from Charlotte over objections to North Carolina House Bill 2, a law mandating that transgender people use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates.

An e-mail Sabates sent to the team’s ownership group surfaced on Friday and was obtained by the Charlotte Observer.

“Shame on those responsible for such a shortsighted decision to take the NBA All Star (Game) away from Charlotte,” he wrote. “I always thought this was a country that ALL peoples not just a few can determine our future.”

Sabates criticized NBA commissioner Adam Silver for not waiting until the courts issued a ruling on HB2’s legality. He blamed the Charlotte city council for losing the game.

“What is wrong with a person using a bathroom provided for the sex they were born with?” he wrote in the letter. “If you want to change your gender so be it. We are a free county, but don’t force 8-year-old children to be exposed to having to share bathroom facilities with people that don’t share the organs they were born with.”

Sabates’ sentiments opposed those expressed by the Hornets, whose majority owner is NBA legend Michael Jordan, after the league’s announcement on Thursday.

“We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season,” the club said in a statement. “There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league “do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.”

A new host city for the 2017 midseason showcase would be announced in the coming weeks, he said, adding that the league hopes to schedule the 2019 All Star Game in Charlotte.



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