(Reuters) – Civil rights group NAACP on Thursday called on free agents in five major North American professional sports leagues not to sign contracts with Texas-based teams, citing restrictions on voting rights and voting rights. abortion.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to Texas’ near-total abortion ban, while Republican Gov. Greg Abbott last month signed voting restrictions that critics say will make more difficult the vote of black and Hispanic voters.
The NAACP cited these issues among its concerns in a letter to Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League, Women’s National Basketball Association, National Basketball Association, and National Hockey League player associations. .
“As we witness an incomprehensible attack on basic human rights unfold in Texas, we simultaneously witness a threat against constitutional guarantees for women, children and marginalized communities,” the NAACP said in the letter.
Abbott’s press office could not be reached Thursday evening for comment.
The governor previously said the election law was aimed at tackling electoral fraud. Texas’ anti-abortion law, which bans the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, has been hailed as a victory for conservatives, who have long sought to eliminate access to abortion in the United States.
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said he called on athletes to protect “democratic values.”
“Professional athletes are among the greatest role models of our country and we need them to join us in fighting for democracy,” he said.
Earlier this year, MLB commissioner Robert Manfred moved the Atlanta All-Star Game and Amateur Draft to protest Georgia’s new voting restrictions.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, editing by Peter Rutherford)
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