The NAACP issued an open letter on Thursday to the labor unions for every U.S. professional sport asking their members to avoid signing contracts to perform for any sports teams in Texas because of the state’s “attacks on voting rights” and abortion, along with its COVID policies.
NAACP National President Derric Johnson and Texas President Gary Bledsoe sent the letter to the players’ associations for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and the WNBA. They wrote an “incomprehensible assault” on fundamental human rights unfolding in Texas that coincides with a “threat to constitutional guarantees for women, children, and marginalized communities.”
Texas has nine major league professional franchises located in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
The letter continues by saying the Texas legislature has passed “archaic policies, disguised as laws,” that affect voting rights, abortion rights and “increase the risk of contracting coronavirus.” They wrote that if you are a woman, Black, “want to lower your chances of dying from coronavirus,” then “avoid Texas.”
The Texas Heartbeat Act enacted earlier this year prohibits abortion procedures in the state after a fetal heartbeat is medically detected. In September, Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed a new election security law that protects the integrity of ballots cast in person or by absentees. Abbott has also issued an executive order prohibiting COVID vaccine mandates when citizens object to conscience, medical reasons, or religious beliefs.
The letter said that “when all else fails,” NAACP members must “look within” to answer the call to protect human rights and democratic values. The letter asked professional athletes, as “some of our country’s greatest role models,” to join in the “fight for democracy.”
The letter did not mention that all of the measures objected to were enacted under the law by the state’s elected representatives. The NAACP also did not mention the many benefits that professional athletes of all races enjoy by working and living in Texas, with favorable tax laws and a business environment for high-income earners.