Those who follow sportsball know the 49ers won’t face the Carolina Panthers until their game in Charlotte September 18, but the San Francisco team’s owner isn’t waiting. Team CEO Jed York has sacked North Carolina by tackling the issue of its controversial and discriminatory law, H.B. 2.
York, who WBTV-TV reported was in Charlotte for meetings with the National Football League, didn’t stop at just condemning the law — which removes the power of North Carolina’s local governments to enact their own ordinances to protect people from discrimination, and restricts transgender people from using a bathroom matching their gender identity — he called for its repeal.
He then took the ball and ran with it, announcing he was making a “gift” of $75,000 to the Equality North Carolina Foundation to “further their work.”
And the team CEO didn’t even pause there for a victory dance in the end zone. He met with transgender North Carolinians and other advocates to hear how the law had impacted them. And he issued a statement about his experience and what he took away from it.
“The San Francisco 49ers are deeply concerned about North Carolina’s recently enacted House Bill 2, which overturned protections for LGBT people and sanctioned discrimination across the state. HB2 does not reflect the values of our organization, of our country, or the majority of North Carolinians.”
In response to his generous gift, Equality NC issued a statement to York and his team.
“Our heartfelt thanks are with Jed York and the San Francisco 49ers for their support and leadership at this critical time. It is clear that leaders at the General Assembly must act quickly to salvage our state’s reputation.”
One of the topics NFL officials are expected to discuss in their meetings in Charlotte is how to address events like Super Bowl games, which Charlotte has never done, and might not if the H.B. 2 law is not repealed. Anyone looking for proof of that need look no further than the NFL’s announcement of its next three Super Bowls. Atlanta will host in 2019, after its governor, Republican Nathan Deal, vetoed a bill that would have legalized discrimination against LGBT people on religious grounds.
LGBT-friendly cities Miami and Los Angeles will host the big game in 2020 and 2021, respectively.