The Ballot or the Blackout: Demand the NFL Move Super Bowl LVII from Arizona in 2023 due to Voter Suppression

Chairman Roger Goodell

According to the Brennan Center, Arizona legislatures passed three restrictive voting bills in 2021, AZ HB 1003, AZ SB 1485, and AZ SB 1819. These bills will purge voters from voting lists and limit the time voters can fix their absentee ballots and cure their signatures. These new laws compound earlier discriminatory voting laws passed in Arizona that restrict ballot collecting and provisional ballots. The majority of voters harmed by these laws are African American, Latino and Native American voters, rural voters, and poor and low income voters.

Join us as we demand the NFL move Super Bowl LVII from Arizona due to its discriminatory voting laws in order to protect our democracy.

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To: Chairman Roger Goodell
From: [Your Name]

We are faith leaders, artists, athletes, activists, and leaders in different fields who are concerned with the state of our democracy and we hope you share our sentiments. In response to the failure of the United States Senate to protect voting rights, and the complicity of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in upholding voter suppression, and actions of Arizona's legislature and governor, we are calling on the NFL to move Super Bowl LVII in February of 2023 out of Arizona.

Sen. Sinema’s vote to deny voting protections for all Americans also denied protections for voters in her own state against Arizona’s three voter restrictive laws passed in 2021. Arizona’s laws limit the time voters can fix their absentee ballots, cure their signatures, and remove voters from the early voting and vote by mail lists, in a state where 80% of voters vote by mail. Of the eight legislative districts in Arizona with the highest numbers of voters likely to be removed from the early voting list, seven are districts in which voters of color are the majority. Arizona’s laws violate the 1st, 14th and 15th Amendments as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by placing restrictions on the right to vote that are unduly burdensome, particularly upon voters of color.

The action we are asking the NFL to take has precedent. The NFL removed the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix because the state failed to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For the Arizona Senator to vote to deny voter protection legislation during the very week of this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration is not forward progress, and the state’s voter suppression laws reverse the gains won in Arizona from the NFL’s decision to relocate the Super Bowl 30 years ago next year.

To have hosted a Super Bowl as recently as 2019 during which Congressman John Lewis participated in the coin toss, and then to host a Super Bowl in a state that is suppressing the very voting rights for which he almost died in Selma, is an utter contradiction. There is no timelier moment for the League’s Inspire Change Social Justice Initiative to be visible, to be assertive and to heed Dr. King’s words: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

We implore you to demonstrate, once again, that there will be consequences for states and their politicians who stand against justice and oppose basic civil and human rights.