BLOGThe Hypocrisy of the NFL’s Warning to Texas about Providing Private Spaces for Men and Women

By Marissa Mayer Posted on: | February 14, 2017

Super Bowl LI, held in Houston, was, by most accounts, a success. A thrilling (or disappointing, depending on your allegiances) comeback and a sweet story that made it a little harder to dislike Tom Brady.

The biggest controversies seemed to come from the disappearance of Brady’s game jersey and a few questionable commercials. That is, until now.

Last week, CBS reported that Texas’ prospects for hosting future Super Bowls could depend on what happens with Texas’ Senate Bill 6. Introduced in January, the bill requires that men and women use private facilities—such as locker rooms, showers, and restrooms—in public schools, government buildings, and public universities according to their biological sex. The bill recognizes the real differences between men and women, boys and girls, and does so to provide privacy for all.

When asked about how a privacy-protecting bill could influence NFL operations in the state, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy responded that “[i]f 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.”

But commonsense separation of the sexes sure seems to be an NFL value. After all, you don’t see NFL players and cheerleaders sharing locker rooms and showers do you? Of course not. It would be a gross violation of the cheerleaders’ and players’ privacy.

Besides, if the NFL is really concerned with equality and nondiscrimination, maybe it can start by paying its cheerleaders more than minimum wage, or at least as much as the mascots. It is 2017 after all, and women really shouldn’t be fighting for pay equity with men, let alone adults dressed up in bird suits. Or perhaps the NFL can open up their teams and the cheerleading squads to both sexes, since they don’t seem to think there are any differences between the sexes.

But the bottom line here is that states are well within their rights to protect the privacy of their citizens.

In fact, this isn’t the first time that Texas sought to proactively protect the constitutional right to privacy within its borders. Texas is one of 12 states that is involved in a lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s directive to public schools on Title IX, which basically redefined sex and threatened school funding if they do not open student private areas to members of the opposite sex.

Thankfully, the Trump Administration doesn’t appear to share the former administration’s zeal for the directive. On Friday, the Justice Department stepped back from its challenge to a nationwide injunction that blocked the enforcement of this unlawful redefinition.

With the new administration in place, it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for student privacy cases, especially Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., which is scheduled for oral arguments at the United States Supreme Court on March 28.

In the meantime, maybe the NFL can take a page from its own playbook and acknowledge that respecting the privacy of the two sexes is serious business. And with declining ratings and plenty of other scandals each season to keep them busy, the league has better things to do than threaten states over commonsense laws.

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Marissa Mayer

Senior Web Writer

Marissa Mayer is an Arizona native who fell in love with the written word at a young age.

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