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The NAACP is calling on professional athletes to reconsider signing with professional sports teams in Texas to protest the state’s controversial voting and abortion laws.
In an open letter to the unions for the NBA, NFL, WNBA, MLB, and NHL, the NAACP urged athletes to consider the use of their platforms and positions as role models for kids across the country.
“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,” read the letter, penned by NAACP President Derrick Johnson and NAACP Texas President Gary Bledsoe.
“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 Texas abortion law, known as SB8, is the strictest in the country. The law prohibits abortions after embryonic cardiac activity is detected, which usually happens around six weeks and often before a woman is aware she is pregnant.
Meanwhile, the voting law places several restrictions on voting in the name of tightening security, including bans on drive-thru voting and adding ID requirements to mail-in voting. Critics have called the law a form of voter suppression.
The letter comes several months after MLB moved the 2021 All-Star game and draft out of Georgia in response to the state’s controversial voting law.
“We are now pleading with you — if you are a free agent and are considering employment in Texas, look elsewhere. The Texas government will not protect your family. Demand that Texas owners invest in your rights and protect your investments,” the letter adds. “Texas is not safe for you, your spouse, or your children. Until the legislation is overturned, Texas isn’t safe for anyone.”