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Senate President Stuart Adams blames Donovan Mitchell for blowback on attempted Critical Race Theory ban

(Photo: Kelli Pierce)
Correction: The original version of this story stated the meeting where the comments took place involved the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. We later learned it was a meeting of the Council for National Policy at which ALEC led panel discussions. The story has been edited to correct that error. 

SALT LAKE CITY– Utah Senate President Stuart Adams said Jazz Star Donovan Mitchell is largely the reason there was blowback to legislation banning Critical Race Theory in Utah schools.

A video surfaced Wednesday of Adams speaking in May on a panel, led by the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, a conservative group that drafts legislation for lawmakers around the country, at a meeting organized by the Council for National Policy, or CNP. CNP is a networking organization for both Republican and conservative activists. Many left-leaning activists criticize CNP for intolerant views, such as anti-LGBTQIA positions, held by some of its members. 

Adams blames Jazz star for backlash on Critical Race Theory ban

President Adams was responding to a question about how Utah is handling corporate push back on social justice issues like abortion and transgender bills.

Speaking of bills on those topics that ran in the 2021 legislative session, Adams said, “We tried to do something similar to Florida and Mississippi. It made it through the House, made it to the Senate, we thought we had it done but then there was a pretty big backlash from the Jazz and other sports organizations.”

Then on Critical Race Theory Adams explained that lawmakers put forward a resolution banning certain concepts from being taught in schools after Governor Spencer Cox wouldn’t allow a bill for them to vote on.

Adams said he had received a text message that Mitchell was speaking out in opposition to a Critical Race Theory ban.

“Donovan Mitchell is not happy with us,” Adams said. “And you start to get very popular sports stars like that that are pushing back. We’ve got work to do to try and educate ’em.”

Related: Why Donovan Mitchell says he wants to talk to Utah lawmakers

“And my text back was let’s get after him and let’s go tell him what we’re doing because I don’t think he really understands what happened.”

Adams added that Critical Race Theory is “not something we’ve seen a lot of in Utah.” However, he also said, “I think it is a big issue and we’re going to deal with it.”

President Adams acknowledged the comments from May in a statement Wednesday and clarified that he received a text from someone with a link to an article where Mitchell expressed his concerns about the Critical Race Theory resolution.

“The legislative process worked,” Adams said. “As lawmakers, we need to better explain the policy that was passed to make sure individuals are aware that we listen to feedback and work to have bills reflect what we are hearing.”

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