HRC to NBA, WNBA and NHL: Time is Now for Non-Discrimination Protections

by Charles Joughin

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, called on the National Basketball Association (NBA), Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) to adopt non-discrimination policies for their LGBT players and staff. The call comes just days after Major League Baseball (MLB) added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy. HRC suggests that the NBA, WNBA and the NHL go one step further and also add gender identity.

“Unfortunately, NBA, WNBA and NHL players and staff can be discriminated against for no other reason than their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Seeing as the NBA is currently in negotiations with its players union and the NHL collective bargaining agreement is set to expire next year, now would be a great opportunity for both organizations and the NBA’s women’s counterpart to adopt a non-discrimination policy that protects players and employees.”

As evidenced by its program NBA Cares, Commissioner David Stern has set the standard for inclusivity on and off the court. “Adding these fundamental protections is very much in keeping with the NBA’s commitment to diversity,” stated Solmonese. “This should not be a heavy lift for them.”

Last week Major League Baseball (MLB) added sexual orientation to their employment non-discrimination protections, with language similar to the policy adopted by the National Football League (NFL) in September. Because there are no legal protections at the federal level, many private employers have adopted policies to protect their LGBT employees against unfair employment practices. HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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