Ryan Smith has been a notable critic of the Utah Legislature’s desire to override Gov. Spencer Cox’’s veto of HB11, and on Friday after the override was made official, the two sports teams Smith owns — the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake — released statements regarding the matter.
Read the Jazz’s statement: “The Utah Jazz oppose discriminatory legislation. We are committed to our values of inclusivity, mutual respect, and fair play.
“Beyond basketball, we hope for an equitable solution that shows love and compassion for all our youth.”
RSL’s statement came later Friday evening and read, “Real Salt Lake stands opposed to legislating discrimination. Our club remains steadfastly committed to the ‘Soccer for ALL’ tenets of inclusion, respect, and fair play.
“Beyond the field, we always strive for equitable solutions that demonstrate love and compassion for all, especially the youth in our community.”
Statement from #rsl about HB11. pic.twitter.com/gfYFEancbb— James Edward (@DNewsPreps) March 26, 2022
Earlier this week, Smith took to Twitter to criticize HB11 and express feelings toward transgender kids.
His tweet came amid speculation that the NBA could remove the 2023 All-Star Game from Salt Lake City over the issue.
"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."— Ryan Smith (@RyanQualtrics) March 23, 2022
We need to love these kids.
This bill was rushed, flawed, and won’t hold up over time. I'm hopeful we can find a better way.
Regardless, to all in the LGBTQ+ community, you're safe with us. https://t.co/Ct3eYBPbXK
“We need to love these kids,” Smith tweeted on Wednesday morning. “This bill was rushed, flawed, and won’t hold up over time.
“I’m hopeful we can find a better way. Regardless, to all in the LGBTQ+ community, you’re safe with us.”
There is precedent for the league doing so, as it took the 2016 All-Star Game out of Charlotte after HB2 — which limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — was passed in North Carolina (the game was played in Charlotte in 2019 after the bill was repealed).