The NFL is threatening to punish the state of Texas unless they follow the far more liberal standards the league has on transgender rights, and Governor Abbott is responding much like most people would expect a Texan to.
He laid out his response to the NFL in a tweet Saturday.
NFL decision makers also benched Tom Brady last season. It ended with NFL handing the Super Bowl trophy to Brady. https://t.co/Qg06jT9RDp
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 11, 2017
Abbot seems to compare the plight of Texas to that of Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, whom the league punished by banning for four games of the season. The team won the Superbowl despite the setback, and Abbott clearly means to challenge the punishment of the league on Texas and win anyway, just like Brady.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy made a statement issuing the threat to Texas in response to an email. “If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law there,” he wrote, “that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events.”
He was referring to a bill filed last month in Texas that would set guidelines for who can use what gender-designated bathroom.
Under the Texas bill, people would be required to use bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate. It’s similar to a North Carolina law that prompted the NCAA to pull seven championship events from that state last year and is backed by Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a powerful figure in the state who had cited the Houston Super Bowl as proof that big events will stick around.
This isn’t the first time the NFL has used its clout to push pro-transgender policies. In 2015, the league implied that a similar bill in Georgia might cause them to skip over Atlanta for hosting Superbowls. Their Republican Governor later vetoed the bill.
Abbot appeared to throw down the gauntlet to the NFL in the tweet which defied the characterization of his position in the CBS article he posted.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has been quieter on the proposal and, noticeably, never mentioned bathrooms while laying out his legislative agenda last month.
Governor Abbott has been embroiled in another controversy since coming out against “sanctuary city” policies that harbor illegal aliens by not responding to federal requests to aid in detaining them. Officials of some Texas cities, including Sheriff Sally Hernandez of Travis County, have tried to fight back, precipitating a Texas bill to ban those policies in Texas cities that persist in abetting illegal immigration.
The Houston Texans made it to the second round of the playoffs and lost 16 to 34 to the Patriots and their quarterback, Tom Brady.