On October 29, 2021, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sent out a letter to the players’ associations of the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and WNBA requesting that players not sign with Texas-based teams.
According to Sarah Barshop of ESPN, the letter cited the recent passage of laws in Texas concerning abortions, mask mandates, and voting rights as reasons why players should avoid signing on to teams located in the Lone Star State. The two-page letter was signed by NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
“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,” the letter outlined. “I ask you to use your influence to help protect the constitutional rights of each individual at risk.”
Back in May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation that would prohibit abortion procedures after six weeks of pregnancy. Later in September, Abbott signed into law a bill that would tighten up the state’s voting laws.
In early October, Abbott issued an executive order that placed bans on vaccine requirements throughout Texas.
These moves have marked a notable rightward shift in Abbott’s policymaking over the past six months.
“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,” the letter read.
In the five leagues mentioned in the NAACP letter, Texas has nine teams which include the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers for the MLB, the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs for the NBA, the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans for the NFL, the Dallas Stars for the NHL, and the Dallas Wings for the WNBA.
Since the death of George Floyd in late May of 2020, sports leagues and corporate entities nationwide have taken stronger political stances on issues of social justice.
America’s major sports leagues have been particularly vocal in raising awareness about race relations and other perceived economic disparities that linger throughout America.
In the case of the MLB, league officials decided to move its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in protest of Georgia’s decision earlier this year to pass legislation that strengthened its election standards.