Could Arizona Lose The Super Bowl Over Anti-Gay Law?
Updated Wednesday 3:15 p.m. PST
The clock is ticking for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to make a decision regarding whether she'll veto SB 1062, the "religious protections" bill, which will actually allow businesses to refuse service to gays.
As the nation awaits her decision, the NFL has already begun quietly assessing how it can relocate the Super Bowl out of Arizona in the event that the legislation passes. As of now, it looks like Tampa Bay, the runner-up bid for the5 201 Super Bowl, may be the first choice replacement.
"No one wants to do this, but if the league's hand is forced, it would have to begin preparing for that process,'' the source close to the situation said. "If this doesn't get vetoed, it has to know, what has to be done next? That discussion has begun.
"Two weeks ago no one would have been discussing who finished second in the 2014 Super Bowl bid process. So that's what changed. The NFL has to know the possibility, however remote, that it would have to move the game and begin preparations to do that. It would be imprudent not to begin that process.''
The league has begun reviewing the details of Tampa Bay's host bid of late 2011 and will take steps to put an accelerated relocation plan in place, should Arizona's SB 1062 become law and the league's owners vote to move the game. Tampa Bay is seen as the league's first option for the substitute host duties, but it is by no means the NFL's only potential site.
"It's a big undertaking and one the league would very much like to avoid,'' the source said. "It'd be incredibly logistically challenging to pull it off and no one's even sure if it's possible. Some expert would have to make a decision on that at some point, but the game's going to be played somewhere."
Feeling the pressure, Gov. Brewer?? It looks like the NFL is willing to take its own stand against anti-gay legislation. The Super Bowl is a big prize to lose...
While various businesses have already denounced Arizona's anti-gay bill, which will allow businesses to refuse to serve gays based on religious beliefs, one organization in particular appears to monitoring the situation closely--and it could possibly impact Gov. Jan Brewer's decision to give the legislation her signature.
The National Football League currently plans to hold the 2015 Super Bowl at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Super Bowl brings global attention to the city and state that hosts it and is an enormous economic boon to the region.
It would suck to lose it over discriminatory legislation, right??
Regarding Arizona's anti-gay bill, NFL spokesman, Greg Aiello says:
“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.”
The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee concurred with the NFL, releasing a statement saying:
We share the NFL's core values which embrace tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination. In addition, a key part of the mission for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee is to promote the economic vitality of Arizona. On that matter we have heard loud and clear from our various stakeholders that adoption of this legislation would not only run contrary to that goal but deal a significant blow to the state's economic growth potential. We do not support this legislation. Instead, we look forward to continuing to promote the NFL's values while focusing on the economic momentum apparent in Arizona and capturing the positive worldwide attention associated with hosting Super Bowl XLIX.
This is just one example of what Arizona has to lose monetarily and in terms of goodwill if Gov. Brewer signs the anti-gay legislation into law.
Delaware Gov. Jack Merkell is already publicly stating that the Super Bowl should be moved if the bill becomes law.
"If they pass this law and if she signs it, it would seem to me that the NFL may be looking, or should be looking, to move the Super Bowl out of that state. Because, you know, there’s so many places around the country that are welcoming to everybody.”
We doubt these voices are going to get quieter. We wonder if Gov. Brewer will decide it's worth the risk?