NAACP President Derrick Johnson is encouraging all pro athletes to sign with teams outside of Texas because he feels that recent legislation within the state has made the area unsafe. To drive his point home, Johnson issued a letter to players' unions within the WNBA, NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB and listed the following franchises as ones to steer clear of in free agency: Dallas Wings, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Dallas Stars, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans.
"We must stand up for what is right and protect our loved ones from the dangerous attacks on freedoms taking place in Texas," Johnson stated.
In his letter, Johnson argues that recent the state's restrictive voting policies and limited reproductive health care guidelines are leading the state in the wrong direction. The NAACP leader also stated that Texas Governor Greg Abbott is working to "dilute the political power of communities of color" with new "political maps" and conservative efforts.
"As we watch an incomprehensible assault on basic human rights unfold in Texas, we are simultaneously witnessing a threat to constitutional guarantees for women, children and marginalized communities," Johnson added.
"Over the past few months, legislators in Texas have passed archaic policies, disguised as laws, that directly violate privacy rights and a woman's freedom to choose, restrict access to free and fair elections for Black and brown voters, and increase the risk of contracting coronavirus. If you are a woman, avoid Texas. If you are Black, avoid Texas. If you want to lower your chances of dying from coronavirus, avoid Texas."
Ultimately, Johnson and his colleagues at the NAACP hope that if athletes are vocal about avoiding the state of Texas in free agency, it will bring more public attention to restrictive voting bills like S.B. 1, the highly-controversial "heartbeat bill" and several other efforts supported by Abbott.
"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," the letter adds,
"I ask you to use your influence to help protect the constitutional rights of each individual at risk."