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HERO’s Football Fallouts: NFL Stands by Houston; Did College Bowls Throw Shade?

HERO’s Football Fallouts: NFL Stands by Houston; Did College Bowls Throw Shade?

Super Bowl

The defeat of Houston's Equal Right Ordinance hasn't impressed the NFL, but college bowls are taking their ball and running away.

Supporters of Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance who have petitioned the NFL for a change of venue for the Super Bowl fumbled on their first down: The league tells Houston TV station KPRC it has no plans to move the 2017 Super Bowl from Houston.

"This will not affect our plans for Super Bowl LI in 2017," said a statement released by the NFL. "We will work closely with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee to make sure all fans feel welcomed at our events. Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard."

Super Bowl LI is scheduled for February 5, 2017, at NRG Stadium.

At press time, an online petition has drawn more than 2,300 signatures, and a prominent transgender advocate called upon the NFL to pull out of Houston after the overwhelming defeat of HERO, which would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as numerous other characteristics.

"The residents of Houston ... have sent a clear message to transgender Houstonians that not only are they not wanted here, but that they should be afraid to be in public," wrote Brynn Tannehill in OutSports. "They have falsely labeled an entire class of people child molesters, and their civil rights have been directly affected as a result."

After Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin requested an emergency meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Tannehill went a step further and made the case for moving the game:

"The only way to remain ethically consistent, and show that respect, is to move the 2017 Super Bowl to a location where people like me are not put in mortal danger every time we need to use the bathroom."

But the NFL isn't budging, nor is the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which has told OutSports it has no plans to move the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four basketball championship tournament out of Houston.

Where there has been a development is with the College Football Playoffs Administration. Houston's bids for college football championship games for 2018, '19 and '20 were all rejected.

Atlanta, the San Francisco Bay area (specifically, Santa Clara), and New Orleans -- each of which has antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people -- won the right to host one of the three games.

There's no word from the CFPA whether the defeat of HERO played a part in its decision. Janis Burke of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority called it a big disappointment in speaking to Houston TV Station KTRK: "We knew we were up against nine competitive cities that three had new stadiums," Burke said, vowing to try again another year.

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