Statewide NewsNAACP Asks Professional Athletes to Leave Texas Over Heartbeat Act, Election Law, Mask Mandate Policy

Citing an "assault on basic human rights," the NAACP joins a chorus of private groups seeking market punishment for the Texas GOP.
October 28, 2021
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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) asked professional athletes to leave or avoid Texas, calling recent actions by the state an “incomprehensible assault on basic human rights.”

The Texas Heartbeat Act, new voting district maps, election law, and COVID-19 policy all factored into the NAACP letter, which was delivered to several major professional sports groups.

“As we watch an incomprehensible assault on basic human rights unfold in Texas, we are simultaneously witnessing a threat to constitutional guarantees for women, children and marginalized communities. Over the past few months, legislators in Texas 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 letter reads.

“If you are a woman, avoid Texas. If you are Black, avoid Texas. If you want to lower your chances of dying from coronavirus, avoid Texas.”

The letter claims that the state’s new political districts fail to represent growth in nonwhite populations, the same claim that at least one lawsuit against the state has presented.

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It also says that the attorney general’s action against school districts that require masks amounts to “putting [children]  at further risk of infection to this deadly virus.”

The letter then calls for professional athletes to relocate or refuse to sign with Texas teams.

Threats of retaliation against Texas from the private sector have risen in pace with the legislature’s action on proposals once perennially neglected in past years, including heartbeat bills and codification of biological sex differences in student sports.

In a statement that has since been removed, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) threatened to stop hosting championship games in Texas if the legislature passed House Bill 25, which requires public school athletes to compete according to their biological sex. The bill passed the legislature last week, and several NCAA championships are still scheduled to take place in Texas in the coming years. However, the version that passed applies only to public school students, not college athletes at public universities.

The same bill also drew criticism from major companies including Amazon, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Paypal.

In another facet of perhaps the same conflict, several major Texas companies such as American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have sparred with the governor over vaccine mandates for their employees.

The NAACP says its letter was delivered to the National Football League Players Association, Women’s National Basketball Player’s Association, National Basketball Players Association, Major League Baseball Players Association, and National Hockey League Players’ Association.

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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.

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