The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sent a two-page letter to the players' associations of five professional sports leagues on Thursday, calling on players to rethink signing contracts with teams in Texas due to recent laws passed in the state.
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, signed the letter outlining Texas's legislation on abortion, face masks and voting rights.
Johnson believes these are reasons professional athletes should avoid doing Texas teams during free agency.
"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."
Of the five leagues (NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB and NHL) mentioned in the letter, only nine teams reside in Texas.
Over the last five months, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a sweeping series of legislation that the letter calls "archaic policies disguised as laws", including a law banning abortions after six weeks and another banning vaccine requirements. The laws directly violate "privacy rights and a woman's freedom to choose, restrict access to fee and fair elections for Black and brown voters as well as increase the risk of contracting coronavirus," the letter read.
"Texas is setting a precedent for effectively dismantling civil rights throughout the nation," the letter read. "... If you are considering signing in Texas, I ask you to ensure that owners are upholding their responsibility of protecting you, the athlete, and your family. I ask you to use your influence to help protect the constitutional rights of each individual at risk."
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