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Business leaders worried bill could prompt NFL to relocate Super Bowl

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Would the NFL seriously consider relocating the biggest game of the year?. (USATSI)
Would the NFL seriously consider relocating the biggest game of the year? (USATSI)

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer hasn't indicated whether she'll veto Senate Bill 1062, which, as the Arizona Rebublic notes, "would expand religious protections in state law in a way that critics claim would be discriminatory against gays and lesbians." But business leaders in the state are already concerned that the bill's passage could prompt the NFL to move next February's Super Bowl out of Glendale, Ariz.

This includes the Super Bowl Host Committee.

"On that matter we have heard loud and clear from our various stakeholders that adoption of this legislation would not only run contrary to that goal but deal a significant blow to the state's economic growth potential. We do not support this legislation," the committee said, via the Republic.

The NFL also issued a statement on the matter.

"Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other improper standard," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time."

Relocating the NFL's biggest game has happened before. The Republic points out that the league moved the 1993 Super Bowl to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., after Arizona voters failed to approve a state holiday honoring Martin Luther King in November 1990.

State business leaders sent a letter Monday asking Brewer to veto the bill.

"We are troubled by any legislation that could be interpreted to permit discrimination against a particular group of people in the marketplace," the letter said. "The legislation is also already clearly having a negative effect on our tourism industry, one of the largest sectors of the economy. The bill could also harm job creation efforts and our ability to attract and retain talent."

On Friday, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association spoke out against the damage the bill's passage could do.

"This legislation has the potential of subjecting the Super Bowl, and major events surrounding it, to the threats of boycotts," GPEC Chairman James Lundy, CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona, and Barry Broome, president and CEO of GPEC wrote in the letter. "We have already been contacted by four companies we are working on with the Arizona Commerce Authority who will look to locate elsewhere if this legislation is signed."

But Brewer has yet to decide what she'll do.

"I certainly haven't made up my mind," Brewer told the Republic during a break at the winter conference of the National Governors Association in Washington. "I need to get back (to Arizona) and hear from people."

Meanwhile, former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, as well as three Republican senators who originally voted for SB 1062, are asking Brewer to veto the bill.

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