NFL: Spring meeting will remain in Charlotte despite LGBT law

NFL: Spring meeting will remain in Charlotte despite LGBT law

CHARLOTTE, NC (Jonathan Jones/The Charlotte Observer) - The NFL will not move its spring meeting, scheduled for May 23-25, from Charlotte even as some businesses have pulled out of the state in the wake of North Carolina's controversial new LGBT law.

"We embrace diversity and inclusiveness in all of our policies," spokesman Brian McCarthy said in statement Tuesday. "The Panthers have made clear their position of non-discrimination and respect for all their fans. The city of Charlotte also has made clear its position."

North Carolina's new law, signed March 23 by Gov. Pat McCrory, limits legal protections of LGBT individuals by setting a statewide definition of protected classes of citizens. The new law means schools and local governments cannot adopt more inclusive rules.

Legislative leaders say they were responding to Charlotte's ordinance, which would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender with which they identify.

Bank of America Stadium has in the past encouraged transgender men and women to use the facilities in which they feel the most comfortable. The Panthers say that position remains unchanged, though the team has declined to comment specifically on the new LGBT measure, known as House Bill 2.

"As the NFL noted, our organization has a long history of non-discrimination and treating all of our patrons at Bank of America Stadium with dignity and respect," Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said in a statement. "Anyone who loves football and the Panthers is and will continue to be welcome at our stadium."

Earlier Tuesday, payment processor PayPal said it is scrapping plans for a new global operations center in Charlotte because it opposes House Bill 2. Major employers like American Airlines and Bank of America have similarly voiced their opposition to the law, as has the NBA, which is scheduled to host its 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.