Opinion: NCAA “Reluctantly” Embraces North Carolina’s LGBT Discrimination

Although it wasn’t really a surprise, the idea of the NCAA embracing North Carolina’s religious Republican legislature and deceitful Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s bait and switch “compromise” is still disgusting on myriad levels. Yesterday the NCAA heartily announced that it “reluctantly” embraced continued discrimination and stigmatization of the LGBT community because “basketball.”

Americans who comprehend that there are more issues facing this country other than the lying traitor in the White House are probably aware that in the pursuit of basketball money, North Carolina’s Republican legislature, with assistance from Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, pulled a fast one and pretended to repeal the legislation that prompted the NCAA to stay out of the state, HB2.

The so-called compromise bill anyone with more than two brain cells already knew was a classic “bait and switch,” HB142, is by any account HB2 with a new title and most of the same provisions targeting the LGBT community with discrimination according to religious Republicans’ belief system. Besides maintaining the “toilet aspect” of the discriminatory HB2, the “compromise” kept in place a prohibition on any locality from passing anti-discrimination laws to ensure the LGBT community enjoyed their constitutionally-protected civil and equal rights under the law.

Apparently, the NCAA felt the need to explain why it “reluctantly” embraced North Carolina’s continued discrimination against LGBT people. In its statement, the NCAA said that “this new law is far from perfect.” Far from perfect is a stretch and code for admitting that the NCAA has a despicably low standard and little regard for “its LGBT students, staff, and fans.” Despite that “reluctance,” the NCAA is actually rewarding the discrimination-minded Republicans and Democratic governor “by reopening the state for consideration in hosting its championship events.”

The reluctant NCAA wrote:

We recognize the quality championships hosted by the people of North Carolina in years before HB2. And this new law restores the state to that legal landscape: a landscape similar to other jurisdictions presently hosting NCAA championships.”

So not only is the NCAA “reluctantly” embracing Republican-mandated LGBT discrimination, they are lying. As Zack Ford at Think Progress noted, there are only two states, Arkansas and Tennessee, that openly ban cities, counties and local municipalities from passing LGBT nondiscrimination protections. In fact, North Carolina is unique in being the only state with “prohibitions on any subdivision of government creating policies assuring transgender people have access to restrooms.”

This new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment. Outside of bathroom facilities, the new law allows our campuses to maintain their own policies against discrimination, including protecting LGBTQ rights, and allows cities’ existing nondiscrimination ordinances, including LBGTQ protections, to remain effective.” (author bold)

That one phrase, “outside of bathroom facilities,” was a glaring admission by the NCAA that the “compromise” is still HB2 with a different name. As the ACLU’s Chase Strangio, the attorney who’s been leading the fight to genuinely repeal HB2, noted in a series of “Tweets” the NCAA sold out the LGBT community:

This sentence [“outside of bathroom facilities”] from the NCAA speaks volumes. Trans people are expendable, disposable, our bodies situated as threats.”

At least there are still several large organizations willing to hold North Carolina accountable for its continued embrace of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. And they are joined by many cities that announced they are committed to continue punishing North Carolina for discrimination; particularly because the phony “compromise” is a non-solution to a despicable piece of religious legislation. Mayors and city councils of Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City “all reiterated that they still ban publicly-funded travel” to the state notorious for its discriminatory legislation.

The NCAA said it was committed to honoring its agreement to hold “previously awarded championship games for 2017–18, and that “all future championship hoses will be required to submit additional documentation” demonstrating how North Carolina will protect student-athletes and fans from discrimination.”

It will be entertaining and likely infuriating to watch how North Carolina educational facilities can possibly provide documentation guaranteeing LGBT people will be protected from being discriminated against, particularly when the “compromise” HB 142 still uses the authority of the state to ban localities from protecting LGBT people from discrimination.


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