atlanta-teamsThe National Football League issued a statement Friday on House Bill 757, the so-called “religious liberty” bill, and its potential impact on the Super Bowl being held in Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks also released statements of concern about the legislation that opponents claim will discriminate against LGBT people, singles, unmarried partners and those of other faiths.

 

On Friday, the NFL released this statement to various media outlets: “NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank also released a statement to CBS46 on the legislation:

“One of my bedrock values is ‘Include Everyone’ and it’s a principle we embrace and strive to live each and every day with my family and our associates, a vast majority of which live and work in Georgia. I strongly believe a diverse, inclusive and welcoming Georgia is critical to our citizens and the millions of visitors coming to enjoy all that our great state has to offer. House Bill 757 undermines these principles and would have long-lasting negative impact on our state and the people of Georgia.”

The Atlanta Braves also issued a statement Friday stating HB 757 would be “detrimental to our community and bad for Georgia. Our organization believes in an environment that is inclusive of all people.” The Atlanta Hawks released a similar statement  saying “The Hawks, Dream, NBA and WNBA are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated, and will continue to ensure all fans, players and employees feel welcome at our events.” To read the statements in full, visit this link.

Gov. Nathan Deal indicated earlier this month that he would veto any legislation that discriminated against Georgians based on religious beliefs. However, he commented to the AJC on Friday that he was “pleasantly surprised” that the Georgia Legislature had reached a compromise in the legislation, but didn’t’ reveal if he would veto the bill.

The sports organizations add to a growing backlash against the bill, with Home Depot, Salesforce, Delta, Coca-Cola and hundreds of other businesses condemning HB 757.

 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.