On March 23, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, also referred to as House Bill No. 2 or the "Bathroom Bill." This bill bans local municipalities from enacting non-discriminatory ordinances designed to protect lesbian, gay and transgender people. The state definition of gender is defined specifically as a person's sex at birth.
The NBA has its 2017 All-Star Game scheduled in Charlotte on Feb. 19. A day after the Gov. McCrory signed the law, the NBA issued its own statement on the All-Star Game.
"The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events. We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte," the league said.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's sentiments have been echoed by a number of individuals in the basketball community, notably Charles Barkley, who took things a step further. "I think the NBA should move the All-Star Game from there next year," the former MVP told CNN. "As a black person, I'm against any form of discrimination -- against whites, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, however you want to phrase it."
The league had already hinted that it might take action, and on Sunday, a report claimed Silver gave the state of North Carolina a 30-day ultimatum. But that report was a hoax.
The Silver quote was published on a fake site designed to look like "ABC News." Cleveland.com re-reported with a short rewrite of an AP story, since been deleted, and kept the AP credit on it). The site has since issued an apology.
The fake story included this imaginary quote from Silver: "With this new law in place, Charlotte currently does not have any anti-discrimination protection in place, something that would be vital for a large event such as the All-Star Game. We are giving the state of North Carolina 30 days to repeal this law or they can expect the 2017 All-Star game to be held elsewhere. I want to make it clear that the NBA will not stand for this type of intolerance and hate."
After the news started spreading among respected publications such as NBC Sports, the NBA responded to this hoax with a tweet:
RT @NBAPR No truth to the fake abcnews account/report concerning the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. The NBA has made no new statements re: 2017 ASG
— NBA (@NBA) April 10, 2016
The NBA prides itself on being a progressive league. According to a 2014 study by The Atlantic, the NBA has the youngest demographic among the four sports, with 45 percent of the league's viewers under age 35. At the time, the NBA's audience was also 45 percent black, triple the black viewership of the NFL or NCAA basketball.
Two years ago, Silver took aggressive action to banish former Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for racist remarks that were made public through an audio recording.
So, no, the NBA did not give North Carolina an ultimatum. But the hoax worked because of the seriousness of the issue and the fact that an Adam Silver ultimatum is believable.