The Dallas Stars are becoming the first Texas sports franchise to officially come out against Texas’ so-called bathroom bill. Club President and CEO Jim Lites sent a letter to the state Legislature saying the proposal isn’t a good idea.
Dallas was warm and welcoming when we came to this great city 25 years ago, and it remains so today. The Dallas Stars stands strongly opposed to any legislation perceived as discriminatory, including proposed bathroom legislation. We welcome fans from all over the globe, and our roster boasts players from half a dozen countries. Dallas welcomes all, and we welcome all.
We’re thrilled that Dallas will host the NHL Draft next year, and we’re grateful that the NHL sees the true Dallas that we know and love, a Dallas that is friendly and vibrant. Dallas will be a wonderful host city and we’re grateful for the business. We are proud of our home and want every visitor to feel at home here, too, and that’s why we oppose this discriminatory bathroom legislation.
The Dallas Morning News reported the Cowboys are also quietly lobbying against the bill, which could die in the next week or so if the Texas House doesn’t vote on it. The moves by both teams shouldn’t be surprising because North Texas is scheduled to host the NFL and NHL drafts next year. There has obviously been a push to remove Texas from the sports event equation because of the bathroom bills, similar to what North Carolina faced when their bill passed, and both leagues have said they’ll reconsider Texas if the bill becomes law.
The Stars’ public stance could also be seen as a bit of a mea culpa, following the criticism they received for failing to do more mark “Hockey Is For Everyone” month in February. Lites’ comment to The Dallas Morning News in March was that they just made a mistake because of other plans for the week.
“It’s been a hectic week. We have been focused on Dave (Strader) and his return and doing work for the cancer society in conjunction with that. We spent all today with (ex-Stars forward Rich Peverley) and the American Heart Association,” Lites said. “That’s not an excuse, but it is what it is. If we left somebody out, we really apologize.”
The Stars’ reasoning didn’t go over well with fans, with Lites later telling WFAA the team “missed an opportunity to make a stronger statement.” It still didn’t sit well with fans, including WFAA writer Josh Lile.
By doing nothing while most of the rest of the NHL was engaged during Hockey Is For Everyone month the Stars, intentionally or accidentally, passively sent this community the message that they aren’t wanted. I don’t know that this is the message the Stars intended to send, but until they rectify the situation good people will continue to suffer the consequences.
I don’t necessarily agree with Lile’s belief the Stars passively sent a message because it does seem like an honest mistake (even if the team could have done better). But the Stars are sending a bigger message by saying they’re against the bathroom bill (which seems more and more like a political stunt by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and his ilk to appease a section of voters and to push back against another section of voters which won’t vote for GOPers anyway). They may have even been forced into the move because of outside pressure from the NHL and fans, plus the estimated $14M which come into North Texas from hosting the draft.
It will be interesting to see how much money Texas is giving the NHL and NFL to host the drafts (more on that cronyism for another time), but the Stars’ move shows the team seriously wants to make sure the bathroom bill doesn’t pass. Which isn’t a bad thing because it’s debatable the proposal will do anything to protect the people the politicians claim it will.