Sports | October 29, 2021 11:27 am

NAACP Calls on Athletes to Avoid Texas in Free Agency Over Recent State Laws

The Lone Star State recently passed laws addressing abortion, voting rights and COVID-19 mask mandates

The Texas flag and the American flag hang in the rafters. The NAACP recently called on athletes to avoid Texas in free agency over recent state laws
The Texas flag and the American flag hang in the rafters over a basketball game
John E. Moore III/Getty

As a response to recent laws passed in Texas addressing abortion, voting rights and mask mandates related to COVID-19, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) issued a two-page letter calling on free-agent athletes to avoid signing with professional teams located in the Lone Star State.

​​”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,” per the letter. “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. 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.”

In the letter, the NAACP mentioned the WNBA, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. Texas is home to nine teams in those five leagues: the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers in MLB, the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, the Dallas Stars in the NHL and the Dallas Wings in the WNBA. Texas is also home to Austin FC, FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo FC in MLS.

“Texas is setting a precedent for effectively dismantling civil rights throughout the nation. Their top priority is infringing on their constitutional duty to promote the general welfare. It is time we take this situation into our own hands and stand up for what is right. It is up to those with a voice to stand up for the women in our lives, to protect our children and our fellow citizens. If you are considering signing in Texas, I ask you to ensure that owners are upholding their responsibility of protecting you, the athlete, and your family. I ask you to use your influence to help protect the constitutional rights of each individual at risk,” said NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson. “We are now pleading with you — if you are a free agent and are considering employment inTexas, look elsewhere. The Texas government will not protect your family. Demand that Texas owners invest in your rights and protect your investments. Texas is not safe for you, your spouse, or your children. Until the legislation is overturned, Texas isn’t safe for anyone.”

Texas also isn’t a state that has an income tax, so it’ll probably continue to be just fine in terms of luring free agents.