The NFL nearly had a super public relations crisis on its hands when Arizona tried to pass SB 1062, which would’ve let restaurants refuse to serve people based on sexual or religious preferences. The bill was vetoed at the last minute and the NFL didn’t have to look for other location options for Super Bowl XLIX.
Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald is happy about that. But not just because it keeps the Super Bowl in Arizona. He told Tom Pelissero of USA Today on Saturday that he doesn’t believe laws like that “have any place in our society.”
“I didn’t think there was any chance it was going to go through,” Fitzgerald said. “I had a strong feeling it would’ve been vetoed. It’s good that it was, obviously. With the Super Bowl coming or any (event) like that, I think it just doesn’t have any place in our society. I’m happy that it’s behind us now.”
Had the law passed, the NFL was in a precipitous position. The Super Bowl would’ve been less than a year away, but Phoenix simply wasn’t an acceptable location with that law in place. Particularly while preparing to welcome Michael Sam, likely to be the first openly-gay player in NFL history, into the league.
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Call it what you want — anti-gay or religious rights — but if Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs a controversial bill, you might not be calling Arizona the home of the 2015 Super Bowl.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, S.B. 1062, is the current controversy du jour out of Arizona, and the National Football League is with the opposition.
“Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other improper standard,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today. “We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.”
The Arizona Super Bowl Host committee released a statement saying it disagreed with the bill and its impact on Arizona’s economy.
“On that matter we have heard loud and clear from our various stakeholders that adoption of this legislation would not only run contrary to that goal but deal a significant blow to the state’s economic growth potential,” a committee spokesperson said. “We do not support this legislation.”
Arizona is currently slated to host the 2015 Super Bowl at Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium.
Opponents of the bill contend that it will allow Arizona businesses to refuse service to homosexual customers.
But, as with most bills in Congress, the attack ads have little to do with the actual legislation.
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