Thursday, February 27, 2014

Guard the Post: Jan Brewer, sneaky and ignorant is no way to run a state

For some reason, the state of Arizona is very committed to having questionable laws with huge social implications that cause them to lose or almost lose the rights to Super Bowls. In one of the fastest moving stories in weeks, the state of Arizona, specifically Governor Jan Brewer, quickly went from a Governors meeting in Washington, DC to being at the forefront of thousands of tweets, phone calls, and angry emails in protest of Senate Bill 1062.

Senate Bill 1062 says, in short, that business owners could deny any customer the right to enter their store or purchase their product if they believe the customer is gay based on the business owners religious beliefs. Basically any business owner would have the right to deny any customer the right to be in their store if they believe the consumer might be gay. This is a real thing that passed a STATE SENATE. EDUCATED PEOPLE BELIEVED THIS TO BE THE RIGHT MOVE FOR A STATE IN THE UNITED STATES.

Okay, back to normalcy. Sorry. What does this mean for the sport world? Well, next February the 2015 Super Bowl is set to be hosted in Arizona for the second time in seven years. The 2008 Super Bowl in Glendale brought $500 million to the Arizona economy. That is a lot of money. Arizona lost the super bowl in 1993 because they refused to recognize Martin Luther King Day as a holiday at the state level. 20 years ago, there was not close to the amount of money in hosting a major sporting event as there is today, but it is hard to imagine that they would let it happen twice in 20 years.

Quickly following the publication of this bill's veto date, many big name companies including Apple, Intel, PetSmart, Marriot, Delta, and American Airlines strongly recommended that Brewer veto the bill as soon as possible. Luckily for everyone, the Governor obliged and vetoed the bill late Wednesday afternoon, three days before it was set to become enacted.

I am by no means a political expert, but come on. It is clear that Brewer and her powerhouse republican state senate were trying to push this bill through under the public's nose. Thanks to this unearthing, multiple other states have gotten flack for similar bills including Oregon, Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi, Utah, and Idaho. These religious freedom bills may grant individuals the right to "protect" their businesses from people who live lives their religion does not agree with. But more importantly it stripes thousands or millions of Americans and tourists the right to support our American businesses. Terrible.

Because we work in a consumer based industry, sport professionals need to be aware that anything from state legislature to a tweet can cause millions of dollars in lost revenue potential. In this case, it isn't only about the loss of $500 million or more for the 2015 Super Bowl, it is about the damage done to the states local and national reputation. As one of the quickest growing states in terms of its economy, tourism, and housing markets, Arizona cannot afford damaging any consumer base, but especially the young, and often liberal, demographic.

Jan Brewer made the right decision in vetoing this bill, and hopefully other state legislators and Governors will follow suit on their "pro-religious freedom" and anti-basic human rights bills. Not sorry.


Kevin Murray is a Pre-Junior Sport Management Major at Drexel University, originally from Havertown, PA. He worked in the Drexel Sport Management Department as a Research Assistant focusing on the Penn State scandal, equity in collegiate sports, and Title IX.  He completed his first co-op last spring with Drexel Athletics External Relations Department, where he still works part-time. He is currently a Resident Assistant in University Crossings, a member of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, and Vice President of SMTSU.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinj_murray.

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1 comment:

  1. Worthy of discussion is the question of whether the Super Bowl should be moved even after the veto. The one thing I hate about this story is that Brewer keeps being made out to be the hero because she vetoed. What about the rest of the legislators that passed it through? They will still reap the rewards of the Super Bowl pretty much for the sole reason that the public backlash forced Brewer to veto. Way to cover a timely and controversial topic with sportsbiz implications, Kev!