Falcons, Braves, Hawks oppose ‘religious liberty’ bill


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Falcons, Braves, Hawks oppose ‘religious liberty’ bill

The NFL issued a statement Friday suggesting that if Georgia chooses to turn the “religious liberty” bill into law that Atlanta may not get a Super Bowl.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank then issued this statement:

“One of my bedrock values is ‘Include Everyone’ and it’s a principle we embrace and strive to live each and every day with my family and our associates, a vast majority of which live and work in Georgia. I strongly believe a diverse, inclusive and welcoming Georgia is critical to our citizens and the millions of visitors coming to enjoy all that our great state has to offer. House Bill 757 undermines these principles and would have long-lasting negative impact on our state and the people of Georgia.”

And then the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks weighed in:

“The Atlanta Braves organization believes that House Bill 757 is detrimental to our community and bad for Georgia. Our organization believes in an environment that is inclusive of all people. In addition to allowing discrimination against citizens of this state, the bill will have a profoundly negative impact on our organization. As a Georgia business and employer, we proudly support Georgia Prospers in its goal to ensure that the state’s workplaces and communities are diverse and welcoming for all people, no matter one’s race, sex, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We are proud to represent Georgia and are opposed to any law that endorses discrimination against anyone.”

• The Hawks’ organization said:

“For generations, Atlanta has stood at the forefront of civil rights and its diversity is what has made this city a cultural leader in the Southeast. The Hawks strongly believe in the values of inclusion, diversity and equal rights, core principles by which we operate our business and are essential elements in making Atlanta a leading global city.”

In response to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s question earlier Friday about whether the league had any position on Georgia House Bill 757, the NFL issued this statement from league spokesman Brian McCarthy:

“NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”

Falcons owner Arthur Blank has hoped to land multiple Super Bowls in the team’s new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2017. The NFL has previously moved a Super Bowl from Arizona to the Rose Bowl near Los Angeles in the 1992 season after that state refused to recognize the Martin Luther King holiday.

The NCAA issued this statement:

“We’ll continue to monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites. Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values. It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.”

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