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American flag at Houston Astros' stadium. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The NAACP on Thursday called on professional athletes to not sign contracts in Texas because of recent voting, redistricting and abortion laws passed in the state.

What they're saying: "From abortion to voting rights and mask mandates, Texas has become a blueprint by legislators to violate constitutional rights for all, especially for women, children and marginalized communities," the letter reads.

  • "As we watch an incomprehensible assault on basic human rights unfold in Texas, we are simultaneously witnessing a threat to constitutional guarantees for women, children and marginalized communities.
  • "Demand that Texas owners invest in your rights and protect your investments. Texas is not safe for you, your spouse, or your children. Until the legislation is overturned, Texas isn’t safe for anyone."
  • "If you are a woman, avoid Texas. If you are Black, avoid Texas. If you want to lower your chances of dying from coronavirus, avoid Texas."

Driving the news: The Texas House passed new congressional district maps earlier this month that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities.

  • Texas also passed a law in September that bans abortions after six weeks, including in cases of assault or incest, and incentivizes people to sue anyone suspected of helping a woman obtain an abortion.
  • The same month, the state passed a law limiting early voting hours, banning drive-thru voting and other measures critics said would raise new barriers for marginalized voters.

The letter was written by NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and the organization's Texas State Conference President Gary Bledsoe to the players' associations of the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB and NHL.

Go deeper

COVID looms over Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: New York Times; Cartogram: Will Chase and Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID cases are up nationwide, and while Texas is doing better than many other states for now, the rolling seven-day average of new infections is slowly climbing again, according to state data.

Driving the news: Vanderbilt University Medical Center infectious disease expert William Schaffner had hoped COVID-19 would be under control by Thanksgiving 2021.

  • But "COVID, particularly this Delta variant, keeps throwing us curveballs," he told Axios Nashville.

Rep. Louie Gohmert running for Texas attorney general

Rep. Louie Gohmert at the U.S. Capitol in October. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Louie Gohmert announced Monday his bid to become Texas attorney general in 2022 and said he's already raised $1 million in his effort to unseat the incumbent, fellow Republican Ken Paxton.

The big picture: The Texas congressman and Trump loyalist joins a crowded field of candidates challenging Paxton, who is under investigation by the FBI and is facing securities fraud charges.

Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

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