The NAACP urged free agent professional athletes to reconsider signing contracts in Texas because of the state’s recent enactment of laws that restrict voting rights and reproduction care.
That message was sent Thursday (Oct. 28) in an open letter to the players unions for every major professional sport in the United States.
"We must stand up for what is right and protect our loved ones from the dangerous attacks on freedoms taking place in Texas,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson stated.
This move is in response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently approving redistricting maps “that dilute the political power of communities of color.”
Abbott approved Texas’ new political maps on Oct. 25 with district lines that are intended to keep Texas Republicans in office for a decade, The Texas Tribune reported. It will impact elections for Congress, the state legislature and State Board of Education districts.
According to the Tribune, the maps diminish the power of voters of color, even though new census figures show that Texas’ minority population increased.
This comes on the heels of Abbot signing into law new ballot restriction rules that voting rights advocates say targets people of color.
The GOP-dominated legislature has also pushed through a controversial law that significantly restricts a woman’s right to an abortion in the state. Battle lines have been drawn, as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear legal arguments.
The letter was delivered to the National Football League Players Association, Women's National Basketball Player's Association, National Basketball Players Association, Major League Baseball Players Association, and National Hockey League Players' Association.
"When all else fails, we must look within and answer the call to protect the basic human rights and democratic values which are fundamental to this country," Johnson said. "Professional athletes serve as some of our country's greatest role models and we need them to join us to fight for democracy."