As you may have seen, USA Today and many other outlets have reported that the NAACP is urging pro athletes in free agency not to sign with teams in Texas over voting and abortion laws. As a huge Texas sports fan… I just have to say… I fully agree with them. Free-agent athletes should absolutely not sign with teams in Texas. The NAACP has noted the draconian abortion laws, the disturbing voting laws, and the literally sickening COVID response. As a native Texan, I agree that all of those things are atrocious. They bother me to my very core and make me incredibly excited to vote for Governor in 2022.
The letter was sent to the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, and NHL Players’ Associations, and was signed by NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and NAACP Texas President Gary Bledsoe. It also directly addressed Governor Greg Abbott, as it should.
Johnson wrote, “I write to you today in an attempt to appeal not only to your influential platforms as highly-regarded athletes but to your respective purposes a parents and roles model for both our children and those in your personal lives. From abortion to voting rights and mask mandates, Texas has become a blueprint by legislators to violate constitutional rights for all, especially for women, children, and marginalized communities.
“Over the past few months, legislators in Texas have passed archaic policies, disguised as laws, that directly violate privacy rights and a woman’s freedom to choose, restrict access to free and fair elections for Black and brown votes, and increase the risk of contracting coronavirus.
“Recently released data from the 2020 census shows that people of color have driven 95% of the Texas population growth. Yet, new voting legislation and political maps put these communities at risk of not being able to participate in their democracy.
“The Texas government has also empowered vigilantes with the authority of the law, going so far as to offer $10,00 incentive to sue all who aid women in exercising their constitutional right to an abortion.
“Texas lawmakers have destroyed the state’s moral compass by passing these laws. In return, we are asking that you seek employment with sports teams located in states that will protect, honor, and serve your families with integrity.”
He also asked if the organizations were “upholding their responsibility of protecting” them, the athlete, and their families. Honestly? The organizations can’t do so with the laws in Texas, no matter how much they may want to.
Greg Abbott’s office responded, “Here in Texas, one’s rights and freedoms are always protected. Throughout his time in office, Governor Abbott has worked to protect and defend the rights of Texans, including the right to work.”
NO. JUST NO.
My rights in Texas are not protected. Neither are yours. Neither would these free agency athletes’ rights be, which is why I fully agree with the NAACP. I no longer have the right to my reproductive health. My voting rights have been slashed. And I no longer have the right to not get COVID, because, quite honestly, it has more reproductive rights than I do. Transgender kids have also been targeted.
Governor Greg Abbott has worked tirelessly to take away the rights of Texans. I’m actually confused as to why he’s doing what he’s doing. The crazy conservative look isn’t cute. And Texas has become both the laughingstock and the pity of the country — even the world.
I love my home. I grew up in Dallas. And I happen to live in a very blue neighborhood. Even my great-grandparents grew up in the neighborhood I currently live in. So this is my home and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. But I’m so ashamed of the politics of Texas that it angers me an incredible amount.
I could leave. I could move to a bluer state. Maybe a sane person would. But I won’t. I can’t fix the problems here in Texas if I’m not here to vote in Texas. I’m going to fight for the state I love, for my home. I’ll vote, I’ll march, hell, I’ll run for office if it comes down to it. But I’m not leaving. I’m fighting.
So one day I can say, “Free agent athletes of the NAACP, come to Texas. You’ll love it here.”