NAACP calls on pro athletes to avoid signing with teams in Texas

The NAACP has issued a letter to the players associations for multiple pro sports leagues, calling on free agents to consider signing with teams not based in Texas over the organization’s criticism of legislative actions taken in Texas earlier this year. 

“We are now pleading with you — if you are a free agent and are considering employment in Texas, look elsewhere. The Texas government will not protect your family,” reads the letter, which was signed by NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and NAACP Texas State Conference President Gary Bledsoe.

“Demand that Texas owners invest in your rights and protect your investments. Texas is not safe for you, your spouse, or your children. Until the legislation is overturned, Texas isn’t safe for anyone,” the two continued. 

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In a press release, the NAACP pointed specifically to several actions taken by Texas Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottTexas school district pulls 400 books from libraries after state GOP lawmaker's inquiry DOJ sues over Texas's redistricting plan Sunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant MORE (R), including signing an elections bill that critics argue will curb voting access, signing an abortion law that effectively bans abortions after six weeks and, most recently, signing in a new congressional map into law.

“As we watch an incomprehensible assault on basic human rights unfold in Texas, we are simultaneously witnessing a threat to constitutional guarantees 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 voters, and increase the risk of contracting coronavirus,” the two NAACP leaders wrote. 

“If you are a woman, avoid Texas. If you are Black, avoid Texas. If you want to lower your chances of dying from coronavirus, avoid Texas.”

The letters were sent to the National Football League Players Association, National Basketball Players Association, National Hockey League Players' Association, Major League Baseball Players Association and Women's National Basketball Players Association.

In reaction to Texas’s new abortion law last month, Salesforce announced that it would assist any employees who wanted to leave the state.

However, Abbott has claimed that the state’s policies are actually driving business to Texas.

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During an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” Abbott claimed in early September that Texas was seeing more businesses coming to his state because they like the state’s social policies and business environment.

“People vote with their feet and this is not slowing down businesses coming to the state of Texas at all. In fact, it is accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas particularly, Morgan, interestingly, they are leaving the very liberal state of California,” Abbott said

Abbott's press secretary Renae Eze told The Hill in a statement that the rights and freedoms of people "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,” she said.

Updated on Friday at 9:09 a.m.