‘SHAME ON THEM:’ owner of Hornets blasts NBA, Charlotte, trans people

One of the co-owners of the Charlotte Hornets basketball team is livid over the National Basketball Association’s decision to strip the North Carolina city of next year’s All-Star game, because of its hateful law, House Bill 2.

“NOT FAIR FOR OUR COMMUNITY TO BE PENALIZED,” wrote Felix Sabates, in a “reply-all” email to other members of the ownership group that was full of vitriol, a few all-caps rants, and enough misspellings to suggest the Cuban native might struggle with the English language. “Shame on those responsible for such a short sighted decision to take the NBA All Star away from Charlotte I always thought this was country that ALL peoples not just a few can determine our future,” he wrote, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Sabates, one of the founding owners of the team and a successful businessman who built himself up from nothing after arriving in the U.S. at the age of 15, complained in his email that “21 other USA states are suing the Federal Government over laws that are not fair to our communities,” referring to the lawsuits filed by governors upset over directives by the federal government for schools to treat transgender students as equals.

The directive followed the enacting of HB2 by North Carolina, which restricts the use of public bathrooms: under the law, everyone must use the bathroom matching the gender listed on their birth certificate. The law reversed a Charlotte ordinance that added lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to the list of classes of people protected against discrimination in the city, which Sabates blamed for the league’s decision.

“I am very disappointed in this decision by the commissioner, it hurts our team and ownership group that has suffered very deep financial loses (sic) over the years,” Sabates said.

“Our Mayor opened a can of worms, who knows why? Our city council is the one to blame for our losing the NBA All Star game, none of this would have happened if not for a very few minority forcing our supposed city leaders into creating a problem that never really existed, there will always be another election, they better pray a very few can get them re-elected.”

Sabates claims in his email that he is “not opposed to people changing their sex,” using words that suggest he doesn’t really understand what being transgender is, but then reveals his true feelings about the trans community later in his email:

“What is wrong with a person using a bathroom provided for the sex the were born with, if you want to change your gender so be it, we are a free county, but don’t force 8 years old children to be exposed to having to share bathroom facilities with people that don’t share the organs they were Bourne (sic) with, this is plain wrong, this could cause irreparable damages to a children’s that don’t understand why they have to see what God did not mean for them to witness, we have some very confused business as well as political humans that frankly have made this a political issue rather then (sic) moral issues, SHAME ON THEM.”

That message stands in stark contrast to the statement by the team and chairman Michael Jordan, issued just minutes after the league announced its move of the All-Star game.

“We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season.  There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so.  With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star Weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019. We want to thank the City of Charlotte and the business community for their backing throughout this entire process, starting with the initial bid. We are confident that they will be just as supportive and enthusiastic for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.”

Read the full email from Sabates here.

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