Instead of pink jerseys, ladies’ nights and other performative gestures, sporting ligase and organizations can easily demonstrate that women really care.
No Houston or Dallas NCAA Final Fours in 2023, or San Antonio in 2025. No Super Bowl or All-Star Games. No NFL Combine that Jerry Jones covets Dallas Cowboys owner.
As long as Texas is determined to deprive women of their rights by refuse to allow them to control their own bodies, NFL, NCAA, Major League Baseball and others should remove Texas from the privilege of hosting large-scale sporting events. The opinions of most people in Texas, let alone the rest of the country, have not sufficed to influence Gov. Greg Abbott and his ilk but perhaps watching other countries hold games and tournaments that will bring millions to Texas in return.
This should not even be a matter of discussion for the NCAA.
Some of the 500 current and former athletes that filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on Monday regarding Mississippi’s law prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks, well before viability. The amicus brief argues that without the access to abortion, women cannot seize the possibilities offered by sport – athletic scholarships, professional careers and business opportunities.
The Texas law is more draconian than the Mississippi law, which prohibits abortions after six weeks and provides $10,000 in bonuses for anyone who helps a woman do the job after the procedure. Doctors, nurses, family members, even Uber drivers, would be included.
You might also think that an NCAA athlete’s teammate could be included.
Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates, an email organization devoted to the protection of access to the economy and education of women and girls, said: “We don’t have athletic choices or work choices if we have no reproductive choices.
The NCAA was established partly to “keep college athletes safe,” and nobody with common sense can argue that the new Texas law has done so.
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If the NCAA does not suffice to stand up for its female athletes, what about its member institutions? Colleges and universities should be science, history and critical thinking champions. If Texas shows such blatant disregard for these ideals, the NCAA cannot allow it to take advantage of its championship events.
It is not as if such a protest was by the way an audacious step for the NCAA. The organization has rightly refused to allow its championships to take place, and the ban has proved quite effective, in states which have encouraged or tolerated discrimination against Black Americans or LGBTQ+ community.
The “bathroom bill” that targeted transgender people was dismissed in North Carolina. Mississippi removed from its state flag the Confederate banner.
The NCAA would also follow the leadership of several companies that have already opposed Texas law. For any driver who is sued, Uber and Lyft offered to pay legal fees. Salesforce said it would pay for staff who want to leave Texas relocation costs. The Wire’s creator David Simon said that he will find a new location for his next HBO miniseries on Tuesday night.
“This is beyond politics if an employer,” Simon wrote on Twitter. “Women’s cast/crew can’t and will not ask to forgive civil liberties for filming there.”
None of the professional Leagues are scheduled for a signature event in Texas in the near future – although the Texas Rangers have a new stadium and the MLB has yet to host the 2024 and 2025 All Star Games. But the leagues still have power to let the Texas officials know that the state will be as attractive as a super-fund website, as long as they continue to have an eerie obsession with women’s policing.
After all, women constitute a growing proportion of the fan base of the leagues. And studies have shown that women drive 70% to 80% of buying decisions. Imagine their alienating impact on, say, the NFL target of Roger Goodell to reach 25 billion dollars in revenue by 2027.
Texas legislators play dangerous games with the lives of women. In playing their games elsewhere the NCAA and the professional ligas can demonstrate their disapproval.