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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After voters in Houston repealed an equal rights ordinance this month, some called on the NCAA to move the 2016 Final Four out of the city.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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‘Aiding and Abetting’: Speaker Johnson Blasted for Blurring Faces of J6 Participants



Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is once again under fire, this time for intentionally blurring the faces of people caught on camera in the massive 40,000 hours of January 6 videos he ordered to be released to the public.

Speaker Johnson “said Republicans are blurring out the faces of people on the Jan. 6 tapes ‘because we don’t want them to be retaliated against and be charged the DOJ,'” Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman first reported Tuesday (video below).

Federal law enforcement agencies have used those videos to identify, arrest, charge, prosecute, and convict hundreds of criminals who acted unlawfully during the January 6, 2021 insurrection. The FBI set up a public tip line specifically for their Capitol investigation. While not everyone who was on Capitol grounds acted illegally, the videos provided evidence of wrongdoing. Countless social media users worked together to help identify some of the participants, as was detailed in NBC News’ justice reporter Ryan J. Reilly’s book, “Sedition Hunters.”

During his remarks Tuesday Johnson also claimed the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack was “a partisan exercise” that produced a “biased report” and “hid some of the important evidence.”

READ MORE: Florida GOP Chair Could Face ‘Censure or Discipline’ After Rape Allegation and Three-Way Sex Claim

The Speaker’s comments are in direct conflict with his recent statement defending his march toward an impeachment investigation of President Joe Biden.

Johnson, who frequently reminds reporters he is “a constitutional attorney,” was labeled by The New York Times recently as “a key architect of his party’s objections to certifying President Biden’s victory” in the 2020 election.

Last week, in promoting what some critics – and the White House – say are House Republicans’ baseless allegations against the President, Johnson also told reporters Republicans are “the rule of law team.”

The Speaker was quickly criticized for, as former GOP congressman Joe Walsh said, “aiding and abetting.”

“The party of the police; the party of law and order,” mocked MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan. Top national security attorney Brad Moss similarly wrote, “Party of ‘law and order.'”

“The House Republican Speaker doesn’t want people who broke the law on January 6 to be charged with a crime … and he said this publicly,” notes MSNBC columnist Michael A. Cohen.

READ MORE: RNC Chair Falsely Claims ‘Biden White House’ Killed Hunter Laptop Story in 2020

“Wait. I thought the GOP said they were just tourists? Show their faces or admit they weren’t orderly tourists,” wrote former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).

Watch the videos of Johnson above or at this link.


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Florida GOP Chair Could Face ‘Censure or Discipline’ After Rape Allegation and Three-Way Sex Claim



Christian Ziegler, the Donald Trump-endorsed Florida Republican Party chair who is reportedly under criminal investigation for alleged rape, and had a consensual three-way sexual relationship with his wife and the woman who is now accusing him, could face some form of discipline from party leadership if he does not resign.

Florida Republican Party Vice Chair Evan Power is calling for a special meeting to consider Ziegler’s future, according to Florida Politics.

Ziegler, who is opposed to the special meeting which could decide his fate with the party, wants to wait until the board’s scheduled meeting in February to discuss the allegations against him. He has refused to resign.

“In an act of respect for the Chairman, this evening, I phoned him to request he call an executive board meeting,” Power wrote in an email to board members. “He declined and said the matters could be taken up in February. It is the opinion of the many members that it is not an acceptable timetable.”

READ MORE: ‘Given My Experience’: Gaetz Waiting to ‘Render Judgment’ on Florida GOP Chair Accused of Rape

“Because of my role as Vice Chairman, I now offer the following call for a Special Meeting with an option for each of you to sign on to,” Power added. “I hope that we are able to move the Party forward in a positive manner as the 2024 elections are the most important elections we face in my lifetime. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or give me a call or text.”

Ziegler’s wife Bridget Ziegler is an an elected school board member and a co-founder of the anti-LGBTQ Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as an anti-government extremist group. She told police “that she and her husband had previously engaged in a ‘sexual encounter’ with the woman. The following day, [Christian] Ziegler was interviewed by police with his attorney present. He told them the encounter with the woman was consensual and said he’d taken a video of it,” according to the Florida Center for Government Accountability’s Trident news site.

Power has “as laid out an agenda for a meeting” that “includes potential censure or discipline for Ziegler following party rules. That includes determining if Ziegler must be deemed unfit for office and whether his actions have hurt the ‘good name of the RPOF,'” Florida Politics adds. He also wants the board to discuss suspending Ziegler’s responsibilities, pay, and holding a no-confidence vote.

READ MORE: ‘Authoritarianism’: Florida Says Its Public Schools Exist to ‘Convey Government’s Message’

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‘He Can Warp Time or Something’: Morning Joe Mocks GOP’s Biden Impeachment Probe After Latest Flop



MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski needled House Republicans for overhyping their latest revelation in the impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden.

House Oversight chairman James Comer (R-KY) obtained bank records showing Hunter Biden’s law firm had made monthly payments to his father in late 2018, but those three checks were reimbursement for a pickup truck the elder Biden had purchased and allowed him to use.

“What kind of car was it?” Scarborough asked. “It could have been a hot rod Lincoln. I don’t know, do you ride around in it in Tennessee, go through the Smoky Mountains? More smoking guns.”

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also on Monday accused Biden of suppressing media coverage of his son’s laptop ahead of the 2020 presidential election, which would have been before he was president, and the “Morning Joe” co-hosts called out the bad-faith coverage by conservative media of her outlandish allegations.

“Obsessed,” Brzezinski said.

“The fact that Joe Biden was so corrupt, so evil, so powerful that he could suppress this information, his White House could suppress this information, even when he was not in the White House,” Scarborough said sarcastically. “It means he has, like, some X-Men/Avengers, I think it’s more X-Men. He has these X-Men powers where he can warp time or something. Maybe it is more, like, an Avengers multiverse thing – he’s not really present, but he is. I don’t think Ronna knows that. I’m wondering why she said the Biden White House did it when Biden wasn’t in the White House, and nobody corrected her.”

Watch the video below or at this link.


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