Just like it did with Georgia, the NFL is warning Texas that the league's marquee sporting event might not come its way again if it adopts a bill protecting women when they use public restrooms.
Just days after Houston hosted Super Bowl LI, the National Football League has thrown a challenge flag towards Texas for its consideration of a legislative proposal that would require people to use the bathroom consistent with the gender listed on their birth certificate.
The league's statement on Friday said in a not-so-veiled threat regarding future Super Bowls:
"If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law there, that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events."
Is the NFL taking the offensive in a game where it doesn't really belong? Steve McConkey, president of 4 Winds Christian Athletics, thinks so.
"Shouldn't we just have a situation where people can go to the game and just enjoy themselves and live a normal situation and not have to worry about transgenders in bathrooms?" he wonders. "I think we're going in a direction that we should not go."
Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, finds the NFL's latest ultimatum "unsurprising."
"We actually saw this in the state of Georgia, which was attempting in 2015 to pass a religious freedom law in the state – and the NFL made threats that Atlanta could be passed over for future Super Bowls if it passed that religious freedom law," he tells OneNewsNow.
Danhof points out the NFL has taken a few black eyes in the PR circles, given its response or lack thereof to players kneeling during the national anthem.
"Let's remember what happened when Target came out in response to North Carolina's bathroom law and said that all of its bathrooms in every Target store in the nation were going to be open to any and all comers, no questions asked," Danhof continues.
"Target's stock took a very negative hit and the sales and the foot traffic in the stores plummeted, so the NFL should be very, very careful – and frankly, in my opinion they shouldn't be involved in this issue whatsoever."
He also notes the NFL doesn't vote for the legislature and the governor – that's up to Texans.
Regardless, Danhof says the NFL is pushing inclusivity when the NFL itself has a problem with inclusivity. "How many Asian-American running backs do they have? How many female wide receivers do you see? How many female owners does the NFL have?"
The NFL has selected future Super Bowl sites through 2021, none of which are in Texas.