North Carolina HB2 Law Puts Sports in a Bind

This definition of discrimination varies depending upon who is doing the interpreting.  However, when it comes to laws like North Carolinas HB2 that was recently signed by Governor Pat McCrory, it is pretty cut and dry. 

In this instance, discriminatory measures seem to have been made the law of the land.  Considering that the United States is supposedly a democratic nation founded on the idea that all citizens have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  However, when discrimination becomes institutionalized, it not only intrudes upon the liberties of a segment of the population, but is a potential threat to us all.

With the passage of HB2 in North Carolina, along with similar bills dubbed as Religious Freedom’, many activist-minded celebrities and even some athletes have taken to their respective mediums to voice their opinions contrary to the tenets of this bill, a bill which many believe is outwardly homophobic and purposefully exclusionary.

Charles Barkley, Bruce Springsteen, John Legend and many others have voiced their disdain for the bill and have each called for business to boycott the state.  However, as far as sports goes, those who would otherwise support simply bailing on states with similar legislation are placed in something of a bind.  

Founded in 1912 and comprised of mostly historical black colleges and universities, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association would not exist without the discriminatory actions which excluded black athletes from competing against their white counterparts in intercollegiate play.  

Through a recent statement, the CIAA explained its stance toward educating its membership regarding LGBTQ, as well as its student athletes on the issues surrounding the bill and gay rights. However, they have no plans of moving their headquarters from Charlotte, North Carolina, nor do they have any plans to move basketball tournaments or any other championships from the state.  Nine of the twelve CIAA member institutions are located in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, Duke University has vehemently expressed its dissatisfaction with the new law and has pressed for a repeal since it was passed. The Charlotte Hornets have expressed their opinion on the measure but have not moved to take any measures to combat it. Similar statements have been made by the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League.

Charles Barkley has gone on record to beseech the NBA to move the NBA All-Star game from Charlotte, North Carolina in 2017.  Reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry has come out against the law as well. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has since stated that while the NBA does have an issue with the law, there are no immediate plans to move the All-Star game or to force the Charlotte Hornets into taking some sort of protest action against the law as well.

However, the commissioner has also stated that moving the game from Charlotte is still very much on the table. But he sugar-coated it some by reiterating that he was not giving the citizens of North Carolina an ultimatum.

“This notion that we set a deadline and then somehow were in the position to dictate to the community of North Carolina, Change this or else, and then we were to say, Fine, well move on ” Silver said. “We have a team that plays in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Im not even sure what statement that would be making about that team. I think whats next would be to say, ‘Should your team be playing in Charlotte, North Carolina?’ We have a playoff game there next week.”

“As an outsider to North Carolina right now, the one place where I know I agree with the governor is that theres enormous misunderstanding about this law,” he said. ” I think when things settle down and legislators are together with the governor and are able to think through the implications of this law, the impact that it potentially can have on minority groups in their state, I think they will see clear to a change in the law. Im hopeful they will.”

Although there has been no immediate move to change the HB2 Law, a law which many believe is purposely exclusionary to gay and transgender people, the state of North Carolina could lose more than $4 billion in lost business as it is.  

That number is likely to continue rising.  Professional sports leagues have voiced their displeasure with the law but none have backed up their concerns with action as of yet. But there is a high likelihood of that changing as well.

Meanwhile, colleges and their respective athletic programs seem to be chained to North Carolina and its wacky attempt at social engineering for the foreseeable future.

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