NBA, Pacers release statement on Indiana religious freedom bill
The NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever released a joint statement on Saturday concerning Senate Bill 101, which was signed into law by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday.
The bill has been considered controversial and "prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person's ability to exercise their religion," according to the Indianapolis Star. Opponents of the law fear it could allow business owners to refuse to serve same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.
The joint statement:
"The game of basketball is grounded in long established principles of inclusion and mutual respect. We will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome at all NBA and WNBA events in Indiana and elsewhere."
Herb Simon, who both the Pacers and Fever, also issued a statement about the new law.
"The Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Bankers Life Fieldhouse have the strongest possible commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination on any basis. Everyone is always welcome at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That has always been the policy from the very beginning of the Simon family’s involvement and it always will be."
On Friday, former NBA player Charles Barkley released a statement calling for big events such as the Final Four and the Super Bowl not to be held in Indiana in light of the legislation.
- Molly Geary