The governor of Texas and a group of pastors have advised the NFL to stay out of the affairs of Texas in response to a boycott threat.
A coalition of pastors known as the Texas Pastor Council that spearheaded the defeat of Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, known also as the "Bathroom Bill," is now taking aim at the National Football League after the organization threatened to make Texas pay if the state passes a proposed transgender bathroom law introduced last month.
Senate Bill 6, one of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's legislative priorities, would require everyone to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on "biological sex," said The Texas Tribune. The measure would also pre-empt local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender Texans to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
In a statement to the Houston Chronicle, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the proposed legislation is inconsistent with the values of the NFL and the league would respond with penalties against the state if it becomes law.
"If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law (in Texas), that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events," McCarthy said.
"The NFL embraces inclusiveness," McCarthy added. "We want all fans to feel welcomed at our events, and NFL policies prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard."
The pastors in a statement Wednesday said they would not be bullied into abandoning their religious values.
"We demand to know what role the NFL has in dictating the values of Texas, interfering with something outside of regulating their own sport and placing our women and children in harms way to give preference to one tenth of one percent who are confused about their gender," they said.
"If the NFL's values include requiring that men can use women's restrooms, we have a special message for the Commissioner and Mr. McCarthy; Pastors of every color and every corner of this state are declaring that we choose mothers over money, daughters over dollars and privacy over predators."
The diverse coalition of pastors added: "Texans love football, but we love our God, our freedom and our families more. If we are forced to choose, then we will say to the NFL and other sports organizations or lobby groups; 'Don't let the ticket gate hit you on the way out of Texas.'"
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also ripped the NFL for threatening the state over the law.
"For some low-level NFL adviser to come out and say that they are going to micromanage and try to dictate to the state of Texas what types of policies we're going to pass in our state, that's unacceptable," he said.
"We don't care what the NFL thinks and certainly what their political policies are because they are not a political arm of the state of Texas or the United States of America. They need to learn their place in the United States, which is to govern football, not politics," he noted.