According to Matt Moore of CBS Sports, the NBA and the Indiana Pacers have issued a joint-statement in response to the legislation passed by the Indiana state legislature.
If you haven’t heard about the bill that was passed, here is the details of the bill from the Indianapolis Star:
Senate Bill 101 prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1.
Although the bill does not mention sexual orientation, opponents fear it could allow business owners to deny services to gays and lesbians for religious reasons.
As you can imagine, there has been outcry and protests against this bill. A lot of people didn’t imagine this kind of bill would even be thought of in 2015. On Saturday, the NBA, Indiana Pacers, and the WNBA’s Indiana Fever issued this joint statement:
“The game of basketball is grounded in long established principles of inclusion and mutual respect. We will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome at all NBA and WNBA events in Indiana and elsewhere.”
Additionally, Pacers and Fever owner Herb Simon stated:
“The Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Bankers Life Fieldhouse have the strongest possible commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination on any basis. Everyone is always welcome at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That has always been the policy from the very beginning of the Simon family’s involvement and it always will be.”
The teams in Indiana weren’t the only ones to issue statements though. Some other former NBA players chimed in as well. Charles Barkley and Pacers legend Reggie Miller also had things to say about this bill. Via SI.com:
“Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me,” Barkley said in the statement.
“As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities.”