Commissioner Roger Goodell (right) and the NFL are joining the fight over Georgia's proposed anti-gay rule.
While the Georgia House Bill 757 currently sits with Governor Nathan Deal, who has been publicly hesitant to sign it, the league is warning that if the bill gets passed into a law, it will prevent the Atlanta Falcons and owner Arthur Blank (left) from hosting a Super Bowl in the near future.
“NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard," the league said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”
The Georgia House Bill 757 on "religious freedom" legislation would stop the government from penalizing organizations that deny “social, educational or charitable services that violate such faith-based organization’s sincerely held religious belief,” as reported by Deadspin. There's also language in the bill about the state government's limited ability to “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a law, rule, regulation, ordinance or resolution of general applicability.”
Taking Atlanta out of the running to host a Super Bowl would be significant because the big game is a huge revenue generator for whatever city hosts it, meaning Georgia would lose out on that opportunity because of its controversial law.
The Falcons' new stadium is set to open in 2017 and they've said in the past that they want to host the Super Bowl in 2019.
Let's see if the NFL's involvement leads to deal rejecting the bill.
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(Photo from left: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images, Andrew Burton/Getty Images)