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NFL Scores Touchdown For Tolerance With Defeat of Arizona’s Anti-Gay Bill

Late Wednesday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced that she would veto controversial legislation that would have allowed Arizona businesses to legally refuse service to anyone on grounds of “religious freedom.”  Passed by the Arizona state legislature last week, Senate Bill 1062 was dubbed Arizona’s “Anti-Gay Bill” because it would have allowed businesses to discriminate legally against same-sex couples.

NFL Scores Touchdown For Tolerance With Defeat of Arizona’s Anti-Gay Bill

Brewer stated that she vetoed the bill because it had the “potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.”  One of the “problems” Brewer was likely referencing was the not so subtle hint sent in recent days from the NFL about possibly relocating next year’s Super Bowl XLIX from Glendale, Arizona to another state if Senate Bill 1062 became law.  On Monday, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee also announced that they did “not support this legislation.” had reported earlier Wednesday that the NFL had begun “investigating the necessary steps to move next season’s Super Bowl.”  Arizona knew that the NFL could well follow through on such a threat.  The NFL moved the 1993 Super Bowl from Arizona to California for Arizona’s failure to establish a state holiday in honor of Reverend Martin Luther King.

In fact, the Anti-Gay Bill threatened even more than the Super Bowl.’s Ian Rapoport had reported that the NFL had “active and serious discussions” about moving next season’s Pro Bowl from Honolulu to Arizona as well.  In addition, the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel reported that other businesses and politicians lined up against the legislation including Arizona’s two Republican Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, and large corporations American Airlines, Apple and Marriott.

It is likely that much of the opposition to the Anti-Gay Bill from the NFL flowed from the worldwide negative publicity such a law would cause their NFL brand at the Super Bowl.  Imagine how awkward it would be for the NFL if a business refused to serve openly gay linebacker Michael Sam during Super Bowl week? That negative attention would also ultimately affect profits.

But, in fairness, credit has to be given to the NFL for getting out in front of this issue and most likely forcing Brewer’s hand to veto the bill.  Vetoing the Anti-Gay bill was the correct thing to do.  NFL was correct in putting the pressure on Arizona to do what was right.

The question going forward is whether the NFL will continue to give Arizona the opportunity to embarrass the NFL product and brand by awarding any more Super Bowls or even Pro Bowls in the future.


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