The National Basketball Association (NBA) has added player protections based on sexual orientation to its new collective bargaining agreement. The agreement was signed by the players’ union and ratified Thursday by the NBA’s board of governors.
Non-discrimination language was added into the agreement that protects players from discrimination, including based on sexual orientation.
This move has been greeted warmly by the Human Rights Campaign:
“The NBA now joins the ranks of some of the most influential organizations and corporations in the country, who all believe that equality and inclusion are integral to a successful workplace,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We are grateful to Commissioner Stern, the NBA and the Players’ Association for sending such a powerful message to society that what matters is a person’s talent, not their sexual orientation.”
Over the last year, a number of professional athletes have worked with HRC to promote LGBT equality in America. Most recently, NBA great Steve Nash, Sean Avery of the NHL, and the NFL’s Michael Strahan, Brendan Ayanbadejo and Scott Fujita all participated in video ads speaking out in favor of marriage equality.
It should be noted that the extra wording is sexual orientation specific and so does not cover gender identity or expression.
This move sees the NBA join the NFL, Major League Baseball and a handful of other major sporting leagues that have already added sexual orientation protections.
The push for sexual orientation-inclusive non-discrimination language has largely been attributed to advocacy group Resource Center Dallas and specifically Rafael McDonnell whose letter writing campaign has brought attention to the need for this change.