Dallas Cowboys NAACP
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs (7) celebrates intercepting a pass with linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, left rear, as New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) walks past in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
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Leadership from the NAACP is urging free-agent athletes to avoid signing with Texas sports teams, citing the new Texas laws against teaching critical race theory, restricting abortion, and other civil rights violations. An open letter was recently sent out to players from the NBA, NFL, WNBA, MLB and NHL, warning them to avoid playing professional sports in Texas.

NAACP leadership referred to the new Texas state laws as “a blueprint by legislators to violate constitutional rights for all,” and requested that free agents avoid moving themselves and their families to a state that is “not safe for anyone.”

Meanwhile, the NAACP didn’t just caution professional athletes, who were reminded of their powerful position and platform across the country, but also everyday citizens. In a state that restricts abortion even in cases of rape or incest, the NAACP stated, “If you are a woman, avoid Texas.”

The NAACP also referenced other civil rights violations, including the limitations placed on voting rights. Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed legislation that limits early voting, absentee voting options and banning drive-thru voting. 

Texas has also enacted anti-humanitarian bills relating to the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, including a law against vaccine and mask mandates. 

But limiting voting rights and ignoring Covid protocols isn’t all that the Texas legislature has done. One school district in Southlake, Texas, has also started banning books that cause discomfort in white students and white parents across the district. The entire state bans the teaching of Critical Race Theory, which seeks to educate students on the real history of the United States, from historical chattel slavery to modern-day social justice movements against racism and police brutality. 

In particular, the civil rights of Black and Brown citizens are being restricted and limited, according to the NAACP’s open letter. NAACP Texas President Gary Bledsoe called such laws reprehensible. Bledsoe noted that citizens must “use all of the tools at their disposal” to support human rights.

Texas is currently home to at least nine professional sports teams. The leagues’ players’ associations did not respond to requests for comments. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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