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Dallas’ bid to host 2018 NFL Draft jeopardized by transgender bathroom bill

10 June 2017 17:32

Should it be passed by Texas state legislators, a law requiring people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificates could prevent Dallas from being chosen as host of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas News reports.

North Carolina dealt with major consequences when its lawmakers passed a similar bill. The state lost several sports events, including the NBA All-Star Game and ACC football championship, in addition to the expansion of businesses and concerts.

Now, Dallas’ status as the favorite to be awarded the NFL Draft seems precarious for the same reason.

While Texas’ bathroom bill will be debated during the special legislative that begins July 18, NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy said the league expects to make a decision on the host of next year’s draft by “later this summer/early fall."  In other words, the league should know before it decides on a site whether the state will ban transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.

Super Bowl 51 was held in Houston this past February, but the NFL made clear that policies it deems discriminatory may affect how future events are awarded.

"If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law (in Texas), that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events,” McCarthy said in a statement issued a few days after the Super Bowl.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones chimed in, too, implying he is against legislative action that would negatively affect his business. 

"Any time social issues have the consequence of impacting what we're doing at AT&T or what we're doing with our team, then that gets my attention,'' Jones said in February. "I hope how that is ultimately resolved is a nonevent and not impactful on what we do with our events.”

As competition to host the 2018 draft is stiff – 22 cities have expressed interest – it's clear the league will be closely watching the Texas legislative session.

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