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Charles Barkley Stands Up for LGBT Rights in North Carolina

‘As a black person I'm against any form of discrimination’

The NBA has been watching North Carolina’s actions closely because its 2017 All-Star Game is scheduled to take place in Charlotte, the state’s largest city. But Charlotte may be on shaky ground after a league representative said the law “runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect.” Now one of the most outspoken voices in American sports, ex-NBA star Charles Barkley, has stood up for LGBT rights by saying the NBA should move the game out of North Carolina unless the law is repealed.

“As a black person I’m against any form of discrimination against whites, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, however you want to phrase it,” he told CNN this week. “It’s my job, with the position of power that I’m in and being able to be on television, I’m supposed to stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves. So I think the NBA should move the All-Star game from Charlotte.”

Earlier this week, GOOD reported that PayPal reversed its decision to build a $3.6 million global operations plant in North Carolina, which would have brought 400 new jobs to the state. Their decision came after the state passed an anti-LGBT bill on March 23, 2016. North Carolina’s HB2 bill says that people can only use bathrooms that match the biological sex “stated on a person’s birth certificate.” The new legislation also says that all local laws regarding LGBT nondiscrimination practices are superseded by the state’s new discriminatory law.

This isn’t the first time Barkley has stood up for LGBT rights. In 2007, when ex-NBA player Tim Hardaway went on a homophobic rant, Barkley voiced his support fort the community. “I think gay people should be allowed to get married and God bless them, that’s their own business,” he said during an interview on Sirius XM. “Listen, if a guy can’t play that’s the only time we don’t want to play with him. We don’t care about all that extracurricular stuff.” Barkley’s stance matters, because as one of the most popular voices in American sports, he has the power to bring the issue to people that may not have LGBT rights on their radars.

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