Sports notables react to Indiana “religious freedom” law that allows anti-gay discrimination, NCAA issues statement
Update: March 28, 2015
The following joint statement was issued Saturday, March 28 by the NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever in regard to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act recently signed into law in Indiana:
“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.”
March 28, 2015
Many notables in the sports world joined the chorus of business leaders, politicians and celebrities in denouncing Indiana’s recently passed law which enables businesses and individuals to discriminate against gay and lesbian people in the state if a refusal of service is motivated by religious belief.
The NCAA is based in Indianapolis and the city is one week away from hosting the men’s Final Four. The organization’s president Mark Emmert issued a statement about the law soon after it was passed:
“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events. We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”
Hoopfeed.com reached out to the Indiana Fever for comment on the law. The team’s media relations director replied in an email that the team “had nothing to add. Thanks for asking” when queried about whether head coach Stephanie White or Fever president/general manager Kelly Krauskopf had any opinion on the newly-passed legislation. However, former Fever head coach Lin Dunn was very vocal in her displeasure with enactment of the law. White retweeted messages criticizing the law on her personal Twitter account as well as former Fever player Tully Bevilaqua who owns a business, Gym 41, in Indianapolis.