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Civil rights group urges pro athletes to boycott Texas over abortion restriction


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John Burger - published on 10/29/21

NAACP asks free agents not to sign with Lone Star state teams as protest against heartbeat bill.

If the Biden Administration can’t get Texas to back down on its law protecting unborn children, maybe the NAACP, teaming up with major sports figures, can. 

On Thursday, the civil rights organization asked free agents in the sports world to consider refusing to sign with professional teams in Texas as a way to protest several Lone Star state laws the NAACP finds objectionable. One of those is the Texas legislature’s reform measures to restore confidence in the election system — a move that Democrats say makes it harder for minority voters to cast ballots. Another is S.B. 8, which forbids abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The U.S. Supreme Court expedited a legal challenge to the heartbeat bill and will hear arguments on Monday. The high court earlier this year punted on the question of the law’s constitutionality and allowed it to take effect September 1, setting off a firestorm of controversy that led to the Department of Justice suing Texas.

NAACP National President Derrick Johnson and NAACP Texas State Conference President Gary Bledsoe wrote to sports figures this week that Texas legislators “have passed archaic policies, disguised as laws, that directly violate privacy rights and a woman’s freedom to choose, restrict access to free and fair elections for Black and Brown voters, and increase the risk of contracting coronavirus.”

The latter was an apparent reference to Gov. Greg Abbot’s opposition to mask and vaccine mandates in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

ABC News pointed out that there are nine Texas teams playing the leagues mentioned by the NAACP: the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets; the NHL’s Dallas Stars; the WNBA’s Dallas Wings; MLB’s Texas Rangers and Houston Astros; and the NFL’s Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys.

The civil rights group is calling on athletes to “seek employment with sports teams located in states that will protect, honor and serve your families with integrity.”

The group added, “Until the legislation is overturned, Texas isn’t safe for anyone.”

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