Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told the National Football League to “get out of politics” and “not tell states what their public policy is” Wednesday after the NFL warned the state about moving forward with a transgender bathroom bill.
Just one week after the NFL held the Super Bowl in Houston, league spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement advising the state of Texas to carefully consider whether or not to pass Senate Bill 6, also known as the Texas Privacy Act. The bill, which was proposed in January, allows businesses to choose their own bathroom policies while prohibiting schools from allowing students to use bathrooms or locker rooms whose specified gender does not match their biological sex.
“The NFL needs to just stand on the sideline and not tell states what their public policy is.”
“The NFL needs to get out of politics. They need to stick to their business,” Patrick said Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” “Does [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell, who didn’t care about people not respecting the national anthem, who took a while to come down on domestic violence — does he support boys and girls showering together in the 10th grade? Is that what the NFL is for?”
Although the bill was proposed in January, the NFL conveniently waited until the Super Bowl occurred in Texas a month later before issuing its political statement.
“The NFL embraces inclusiveness. We want all fans to feel welcomed at our events and NFL policies prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard,” McCarthy said in the statement. “If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law [in Texas], that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events.”
But because the NFL is not a school, the Texas Privacy Act would allow the league to institute its own bathroom policies as it sees fit.
“I completely share the sentiments of the NFL. That’s why the Texas Privacy Act ensures that our state continues the same welcoming environment we all enjoy at NFL events,” state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst said in an emailed statement to The Hill.
Patrick agreed, reaffirming that “our bill says no government can tell businesses what to do.”
"We're a free enterprise state. If a business wants to be as stupid as Target and run off their business and see their stock drop 25 percent, let them do it," Patrick said, referencing Target's decision last year to announce that its patrons could use whichever restroom they wished.
"We say that no school can have a policy that boys and girls share showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms. So the NFL thinks that's discriminatory?" Patrick said. "If Roger Goodell is worried about our bill, then why doesn't he announce that next season every stadium in the NFL is going to allow men in the ladies' room? I don't think that would fly with any of the NFL owners. The NFL needs to just stand on the sideline and not tell states what their public policy is."