Swalwell: Move Super Bowl if AZ enacts LGBT law

The National Football League should commit to moving 2015’s Super Bowl out of Arizona if that state enacts a law letting businesses refuse to serve people because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, Rep. Eric Swalwell said Wednesday.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to level the threat. (Goodell’s brother, Michael, is gay and was quoted this month on NFL prospect Michael Sam’s decision to publicly disclose his sexuality.)

“In a recent statement, the NFL recognized that its policy emphasizes tolerance and inclusiveness, and I’m asking the NFL to stand by its words,” Swalwell said in a news reelase. “Arizona is fortunate to be the host of the 2015 Super Bowl, and I urge the NFL to commit to moving the 2015 Super Bowl from Arizona if the anti-gay SB 1062 is signed into law. In doing so, it would send a powerful signal that the NFL will not stand by while discriminatory laws are enacted.”

Arizona’s SB 1062 has been passed by both chambers of that state’s legislature, and Gov. Jan Brewer has until Friday to sign or veto it; news reports have said she’s leaning toward the latter, but it’s not yet clear what she’ll do.

(UPDATE @ 4:50 P.M.: It’s a moot point now; Brewer just announced she has vetoed the bill.)

Read Swalwell’s letter, after the jump…

February 26, 2014

Dear Commissioner Goodell:

I write to ask that the National Football League (NFL) commit to moving the Super Bowl out of Arizona should SB 1062 become law.

As you know, SB 1062 would enable businesses to refuse to serve people simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). This law is an affront to basic notions of dignity, fairness, and equality.

This law is also an affront to the inclusive values of the NFL. In a statement, the NFL recognized that its “policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”

Arizona is fortunate to be the host of the 2015 Super Bowl. The host committee for that event has called for the veto of SB 1062, recognizing that such legislation would be inconsistent with their values, those of the NFL, and with the economic development goals of the Super Bowl. I wholeheartedly agree that this bill should be vetoed.

Committing now to moving this national sporting event should SB 1062 be signed into law would be a strong incentive against doing so. And, it would send a powerful signal that important entities like the NFL are not going to stand by while discriminatory laws are enacted.

I urge you to quickly make clear that, if SB 1062 becomes law, the NFL will move the Super Bowl out of Arizona. Thank you in advance for your consideration and prompt attention to this request.


Eric Swalwell
Member of Congress

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JohnW

    I can’t believe all the drama over what the governor will do. With all the pressure from top Republicans, business interests, sports franchises etc., she would be committing political suicide if she failed to veto. She is just milking it. She vetoed the same bill last year when she was in dispute with the legislature about expanding Medicaid coverage related to Obamacare.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Move the Dang game anyway. Let poor old Oaktown show off the lowly Coliseum