NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Friday called new anti-LGBT legislation in North Carolina "problematic," but said there are no plans to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.
"I think that the best role for the league to play here is through constructive engagement toward change, not setting deadlines, not making ultimatums, but working with the private sector and the government to effect change in North Carolina," Silver said at a news conference.
Since the HB2 law, which among other things strips legal protections for transgender people using public bathrooms, was hastily implemented, corporations and entertainers have been canceling planned events in North Carolina in protest.
Despite news reports that claimed otherwise, the NBA has not joined the list.
And moving the All-Star Game, while still maintaining a team in North Carolina, would send a confusing message, Silver said.
"I mean, for example, we have a playoff game in Charlotte, North Carolina, in roughly a week from now, and I'm not sure what statement we would be saying...about our team in North Carolina if we now announced that the All-Star Game would not take place in North Carolina, but our team continued to operate there," he said.
NBA officials have been working "closely" with the Charlotte Hornets, Silver said, adding that he had spoken with "many people in government" in North Carolina.
Hopefully, he added, the state legislature will modify HB2 to shed the anti-LGBT provisions when it meets later this month.
"I'm not sure what incentive would be left for the legislature in North Carolina to change the law if we announced that we were moving our game," Silver said.
Though the NBA is not pulling out of North Carolina, Silver made it clear that the message was "not that somehow the current state of affairs is OK for the league."
"Let me be clear: The current state of the law is problematic for the NBA in North Carolina," he said. "I think for the league office and our owners, I think the discussion was how can we be most constructive in being part of a process that results in the kind of change that we think is necessary. That's where we find ourselves."
Lindsey Adler is a sports reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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