Big league sports are wielding the power of their sticks and balls as never before, beating Governors and state legislatures into submission on state policy issues. To be sure this is nothing new. In 1991 Penn State, Notre Dame, and Miami said no to the Fiesta Bowl, and the NBA refused to play the All Star game in Arizona. In 1993 the NFL did the same and yanked the Super Bowl from Arizona. Why? The state didn’t make MLK Day a state holiday, (even though it was already a federal holiday). As a result, Arizona lost hundreds of millions of dollars those events would have generated. So a couple of years ago when faced with signing or vetoing the state’s “religious freedom” law, Governor Brewer issued a prompt veto saying she didn’t want to risk the $500 million the state received for playing host to last year’s Super Bowl.
Big sports equals big money.
This year the Governor of Georgia caved and vetoed their religious freedom law because the NFL (among others) threatened to pull out of the state, and the NBA has promised to yank the All Star game from Charlotte if North Carolina doesn’t overturn their new “bathroom law.”
He who has the money makes the rules. Lawmakers always cave to the dollar. Always have. Always will.
Interesting twist to all of this is these laws are supported by a majority of the citizens of these states. The very same citizens who pay to build the gigantic stadiums these teams play in to make money which they use to bully the duly elected lawmakers into doing their bidding.
Nice gig if you can get it.