The NBA's new collective bargaining agreement, signed by the players' union and ratified Thursday by the NBA's board of governors, includes language protecting players from discrimination based on sexual orientation. (The league already has those protections in place for employees.)
“I am pleased to announce that we have concluded the collective bargaining process and have reached an agreement that addresses many significant issues that were challenges to our league,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “This collective bargaining agreement will help us move toward a better business model, a more competitive league and better alignment between compensation and performance.”
Since last year, the NBA has taken many steps to place the sport of basketball near the forefront of a changing sports landscape, in terms of LGBT inclusion. And GLAAD is proud to have partnered with them on several of these steps. From significant fines (and LGBT-supportive statements) following anti-gay epithets, to its public partnerships with us and other LGBT advocacy organizations, to the appearances by Grant Hill and Jared Dudley in a wonderful ad campaign from GLSEN, to its support of now-openly gay former Phoenix Suns CEO Rick Welts, to Shaquille O'Neal's appearance in our "Amplify Your Voice" campaign, to Ray Allen's support for an anti-bullying advocate, the NBA and commissioner David Stern have proven themselves to be strong allies to the LGBT community.
"The NBA now joins leading Fortune 500 companies and the vast majority of Americans who believe that gay people should have the same opportunities to work and live freely as who they are," said Mike Thompson, Acting President of GLAAD. "This decision shows that homophobia has no place on the court or in the game and we hope that local, college and high school teams follow this important example."
The league also joins the NFL and MLB (both of which added similar language this year) in protecting its players from discrimination. We applaud this decision, and look forward to the season beginning later this month!