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NCAA Says Anti-LGBT Discrimination Could Cost Houston, Indianapolis Future Sporting Events



Upcoming Final Fours Won’t Be Moved, But Future Bids Will Be Impacted

The NCAA has indicated it will reconsider host cities for future sporting events based on whether they have laws protecting LGBT people against discrimination.

Those cities include Indianapolis, which is set to host the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2021. This week, Indiana legislators introduced an anti-discrimination bill with exemptions so broad that Lambda Legal has called it a “road map for discrimination against LGBT people.”

The Indy Star notes that the Final Four pumped $71 million into the local economy when it was held in Indianapolis this year. 

“We’ll continue to review current events in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites, such as Indianapolis,” Bob Williams, NCAA senior vice president for communications, wrote in a statement to the newspaper Nov. 12.

The NCAA, officially the National Collegiate Athletic Association, regulates athletes in over 1200 colleges and institutions for most college sports. Based in Indianapolis, it is responsible for over 450,000 student athletes and took in nearly $1 billion in revenue last year.

After voters in Houston repealed an equal rights ordinance this month, some called on the NCAA to move the 2016 Final Four out of the city. However, the NCAA has said it has no plans to do so. 

Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president for the Final Four, told The Indy Star it will remain in Houston because “it takes years to plan and implement this world-class event.” Likewise, the 2016 Women’s Final Four will remain in Indianapolis. 

The newspaper notes that four of the next five NCAA Men’s Final Fours are scheduled to be held in states that don’t have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws, raising questions about how much lead time is needed to move an event. But the NCAA hasn’t divulged those details. 

“There are many factors in a thorough bid process that the NCAA considers when determining what cities will host the Final Four, including but not limited to local, city and state laws and ordinances,” Williams said in his statement to the newspaper. 

Along with the NFL keeping the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston, the NCAA’s decision not to move the Final Four has led anti-LGBT groups to suggest economic arguments in support of the city’s equal rights ordinance were nothing but a straw man. In fact, one anti-LGBT activist is attempting to flip the equation, launching a petition calling on the Republican Party of Texas to move its 2016 convention out of Dallas, based on the city’s recent decision to strengthen transgender protections. The Texas GOP reportedly has no plans to move the convention, even though many Democrats in Dallas likely would cheer such a decision.

RELATED: Indiana GOP Introduces Nondiscrimination Bill LGBT Group Calls ‘Road Map For Discrimination’

Of course, even if anti-LGBT groups’ straw man allegation had merit, it would amount to the pot calling the kettle black, given that opponents of the Houston ordinance built their entire campaign around the fear-mongering lie that it would lead to men entering women’s restrooms to prey on victims. But the reality is that both Houston and Indiana have undeniably taken major hits when it comes to their national image, and that’s likely to have long-term economic consequences. 

Jessica Shortall, who manages a coalition of Texas businesses that support LGBT inclusion, told The Texas Tribune that business fallout over discriminatory laws is frequently subtle and not quantifiable. 

“On a broader scale, there’s a talent issue to think about,” Shortall said. “Especially when we’re looking at millennials, the brand of a place is something that people who care about attracting talent to a state or region think about.”

After the Indiana Legislature passed an anti-LGBT religious freedom law earlier this year, the NCAA said that even though it kept the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis, the controversy was “a big deal” that “could lead to significant changes in the NCAA’s relationship with Indianapolis and the state of Indiana …”

The statement was part of an overwhelming backlash from the business community that ultimately prompted the Indiana Legislature to amend the law to include LGBT protections. Similarly, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed an anti-LGBT law in 2014 after the NFL began exploring the possibility of moving the 2015 Super Bowl. 

Although more than 60 businesses endorsed Houston’s equal rights ordinance, the NCAA and NFL were largely silent in the leadup to the Nov. 3 vote. Even if it would have been logistically impossible to move the 2016 Final Four or the 2017 Super Bowl, the NCAA and NFL dropped the ball by not speaking out forcefully and publicly in support of the ordinance. 

In that sense, the NCAA’s recent statements to The Indy Star may be too little, too late for Houston, but perhaps not for Indiana, which typically hosts the Men’s Final Four every five years. 

Hudson Taylor, founder of Athlete Ally, touched on the critical role sports have played in civil rights movements. 

“The most impactful moments in history are the ones when social issues and sports intersected,” Taylor told the newspaper. “When Jackie Robinson stepped onto the playing field. The black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. Those are the moments that change a country.”


Image by WFIU Public Radio/Scott Witzke/WTIU via Flickr and a CC license 

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Raphael Warnock Beats Trump-Backed Herschel Walker – Democrats Increase Senate Majority



Millions of Americans in Georgia voted to re-elect Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and send him back to Washington D.C., NBC News projects. It is a clear mandate for the policies enacted by the Biden administration and a strong rebuke for the flailing former president, Donald Trump.

Senator Warnock faced a challenge from a Texas Republican who claimed to live in the Peach State, Trump-backed former NFL star Herschel Walker.

The New York Times, confirming Warnock is the projected winner, reports a huge number of Georgians, more than 3.3 million, voted in the runoff election.

An admitted Texas resident, Walker’s long list of hypocritical claims and actions, falsehoods, lies, and troubling business and tax dealings were only outweighed by the women who accused him of violent behavior, pressuring them and paying for them to get abortions, and revelations he had not one child but four, including a son he almost never sees.

READ MORE: ‘Everything Has Been a Lie’: Christian Walker Drops Damning New Video Blasting His Father’s ‘Lies’ Over Abortion

Warnock, who is also the Senior Pastor at the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church, Ebenezer Baptist, out-raised and out-campaigned Walker, especially in the last week.

Herschel Walker appeared at only two events this weekend, Politico reported, “a tailgate in Atlanta before a University of Georgia football game on Saturday, where he did not speak, and a Sunday rally in Loganville, where his stump speech touched on everything from complaints about pronouns and critical race theory to funding law enforcement.”

With 51 votes in the Senate, Democrats will not be forced into a power-sharing agreement with Republicans as they were two years ago. President Biden will be able to nominate and have confirmed even more judges, an area he has excelled. And Democrats will have full committee majorities, giving them power to issue subpoenas in investigations.

RELATED: ‘The Child Would Not Be Safe’: Woman Who Says Herschel Walker Pressured Her to Have Abortion Says She Felt ‘Threatened’

The Washington Post on Tuesday noted that Democrats having 51 votes is “an insurance policy against the unthinkable — the possibility that vacancies or party switches could flip the majority. That has happened before, most recently in 2001. The reason that it hasn’t happened more often is mostly because the Senate isn’t usually this closely divided. But vacancies and seat flips do happen — a lot. In fact, since World War II, about 70 percent of Congresses have featured some kind of shift in partisan balance of the Senate between elections.”

The unthinkable includes the possibility that a Democratic Senator in a state headed by a Republican governor could resign or die, allowing a Republican to be installed in their place. As The Post notes, there are 11 cases currently where that could happen.

Warnock unseated a GOP Senator in a 2020 special election, making this his first full elected six-year term.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain notes President Biden “becomes the first President since FDR 1934 to see every Senator in his party re-elected (who was seeking re-election.)”




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Guilty on All Counts: Trump Organization Loses Big in Criminal Fraud Case



A jury has found thew crown jewel of Donald Trump’s real estate empire, The Trump Organization, guilty on all counts in a state criminal tax fraud case.

Calling it “a remarkable rebuke of the former president’s company and what prosecutors described as its ‘culture of fraud and deception,'” The New York Times reports the details include “conviction on all 17 counts.”

Charges include tax fraud, a scheme to defraud, and conspiracy and falsifying business records, but The Times says it is “hardly a death sentence for the Trump Organization.”

The Times adds the conviction comes “after more than a day of jury deliberations in State Supreme Court in Manhattan,” which “resulted from a long-running scheme in which the Trump Organization doled out off-the-books luxury perks to some executives: They received fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives, none of which they paid taxes on.”

Donald Trump was not a defendant in the case, but the case will be front and center during his presidential run.

According to a press release from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, The Trump Organization and the Trump Payroll Corp. were convicted of the following charges:

  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Criminal Tax Fraud in Third Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  • Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, three counts

The Trump Corporation was also convicted of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony.

MSNBC reported the verdict on-air:

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

Image via Shutterstock

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Watch: McConnell Refuses to Say He Will Not Support Trump for President Even After ‘Terminate the Constitution’ Demand



Even after Donald Trump called for the “termination” of the U.S. Constitution this weekend and demanded he be put back into office or be given a do-over national presidential election, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to say he will not support the ex-president’s current run for the White House.

McConnell kicked off his weekly press conference Tuesday by mildly criticizing Trump, although not mentioning him by name.

“First, let me just say that anyone seeking the presidency who thinks that the Constitution could somehow be suspended or not followed, it seems to me would have a very hard time being sworn in as president of United States,” McConnell told reporters.

But when asked if he “categorically” would refuse to support Trump – personally or in his role as Senate Republican Minority Leader – McConnell refused to go that far.

READ MORE: Watch: McConnell and McCarthy Shunned as Congressional Gold Medal Recipients Refuse to Shake Their Hands

“This is the second week in a row you’ve come out to begin your press conference criticizing Donald Trump,” a reporter off-camera said. “Can you say categorically that you do not support him if he were the Republican nominee?”

McConnell could not.

“What I’m saying is it would be pretty hard to be sworn in, to the presidency, if you’re not willing to uphold the Constitution. That’s what I said, and I just said it again,” McConnell stated.

“How about your personal support?” the reporter shot back.

McConnell ignored the question.

During the 2016 campaign Trump also made clear he did not feel beholden to upholding the Constitution, so it’s unclear why McConnell would suggest he could not be sworn in again should he be elected in 2024.

READ MORE: Far Right Republican Slammed by Raskin for Trying to Derail Respect for Marriage Bill with Failed Religious Amendment

In fact, Trump’s concerning remarks surrounding the Constitution in 2016 led Brown University political science professor Corey Brettschneider to pen a piece for Politico: “Trump vs. the Constitution: A Guide.”

“It may be true that Donald Trump has read the Constitution. But it’s unclear if he understands it,” it begins.

McConnell is not only the second longest serving leader of a party’s caucus in the Senate, nor his he just the Senate Republican Minority Leader.

He wields massive power and influence via his ties to a Super PAC.

According to CNN, the Senate Leadership Fund is “a super PAC affiliated with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.”

This year alone, the Senate Leadership Fund has spent nearly $300 million to elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate. In 2020 it spent over $475 million.

Many have seen their ads, which are almost entirely, according to Open Secrets, against Democrats, not for Republicans.

Watch McConnell below or at this link.



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