If you can't be a bigot at sporting events why be a bigot at all?
by Michael Jack O'Brien
Staff Bathroom Attendant
On Monday, September 12th the NCAA announced that North Carolina would be stripped of all 7 athletic championships scheduled to be played in the state. The move, which can be described as “dunking on some fools” was in response to a controversial anti-LGBT law passed by the state called HB2, infamously known to its critics as the “bathroom bill”.The new bill drew ire from the federal government and civil rights advocates because of a clause that required people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex printed on the individual’s birth certificate. This would allow public buildings to enforce gender binary restrooms, and also allow public officials to refuse service to transgendered individuals if desired. The Department of Justice asserted that the new laws blatantly violate federal civil rights regulations by intentionally targeting and unfairly scrutinizing transgendered citizens while the bill’s proponents insist that the laws were created with “public safety and citizen privacy” in mind; however, it should be noted that the new laws would be near impossible to enforce without checking the genitals of every bathroom goer or requiring citizens to carry around their birth certificate, indicating that claims about “privacy” are bullshit.
In a press statement, the NCAA Board of Governors emphasized that collegiate championships and NCAA sponsored events must work to promote an inclusive atmosphere for all involved. The vice chair of the Board of Governors Jay Lemons went on to declare that “The NCAA Constitution clearly states our values of inclusion and gender equity, along with the membership’s expectation that we as the Board of Governors protect those values for all”.
The NCAA joins numerous companies and celebrities who have decided to boycott and remove business because of the bathroom bill, including but not limited to General Electric, Ringo Starr, Whole Foods, Bruce Springsteen and most importantly, Xhamster. This decision is an incredibly strong assertion by the organization for the protection of LGBT individuals, and will undoubtedly have larger economic implications in the near future. For North Carolina; home of Duke, North Carolina State (duh) and Wake forest, hosting collegiate athletics is woven into the state’s social and economic fabric, making the decision to relocate these events a sure “punch in the gut” for universities and the community at large. Unsurprisingly, the North Carolina Republican Party was not pleased, accusing the NCAA of “political peacocking” and forcing their “progressive sexual agenda” upon the state ; one state GOP spokesperson even commented that “This is so absurd it’s almost comical. I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams”, for a state that loves basketball so much, it is quite hard to believe that state Republicans could “miss the point” as much as they did. While one could understandably hold the opinion that by removing these events the NCAA is unfairly punishing an entire state for the actions of the state legislature, it is the organization’s right to make decisions based upon their stated values. By creating real economic consequences for the legislature’s actions, the NCAA makes a bold statement that the discrimination of LGBT individuals will not be tolerated by collegiate athletic hosts. Times they are a changin’, and the state of North Carolina has two options; either remove their discriminatory laws or remove a massive source of income and remain stuck in the past.