North Carolina squeaked out more than just a basketball win Monday.
The state came out on the right side of a controversial repeal of HB2, a bill that left many across the country, and in the state, rightfully outraged.
HB2, more colloquially known as the “Bathroom Bill,” gained notoriety last year for stripping away anti-discrimination protections from the LGBTQ community.
Most notably, it required transgender individuals to use bathrooms that match the genders on their birth certificates rather than the genders they identify as, and prevented North Carolina cities – such as Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh – from protecting their own citizens without going through the state.
Duke and the University of North Carolina men’s basketball coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams, respectively, slammed HB2 as a “stupid rule” – and it is.
It targeted a group of people who already face harsh discrimination and ridicule on a daily basis.
It also led to multiple economic consequences – a projected $3.76 billion over 12 years per the Associated Press – when the NBA and various businesses pulled their events from North Carolina to protect workers, fans and participants.
The NCAA threatened to pull future postseason events, which would be awarded this month, from the state if the bill stayed as is.
North Carolina elected a new governor who campaigned on full repeal, but he folded and issued a rushed repeal this week that did little to fulfill his promises.
It partially overturned HB2 but did not provide further protection for the state’s LGBTQ citizens.
But it was sadly good enough for the NCAA.
The Board of Governors caved and, albeit reluctantly, said that though the repeal wasn’t perfect, it would still allow the state to be considered to host postseason events because it “meets the minimal NCAA requirements” and because of “the quality of championships hosted by the people of North Carolina in years before HB2.”
Like activists and organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and the Human Rights Campaign have said, it’s not about bathrooms.
Learn from our past. Please. pic.twitter.com/ZTSHwzm8JA
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) February 23, 2017
It’s about protecting some of the most maligned people in society and allowing them to be treated as equals.
The NCAA, college athletics’ governing body, had the opportunity to support and protect athletes and fans from all backgrounds, but couldn’t seize what was right in front of it.
If the NCAA had pulled away from North Carolina, like it did for years when South Carolina staunchly continued flying the Confederate flag, it would’ve sent a message that fair and equal treatment take precedence over championships and hosting privileges.
North Carolina already failed its LGBTQ community.
And now the NCAA has too.