Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Listen to the NBA and the coaches: HB2 is a loser

Posted July 22, 2016 5:57 a.m. EDT
Updated July 22, 2016 10:23 a.m. EDT

-- North Carolina's three top basketball coaches say HB2 is a problem.
-- NCSU's Mark Gottfried says he's embarrassed when parents ask about HB2 at recruiting visits.
-- Charlotte area will lose up to $100 million due to relocation of the 2017 NBA All-Star game.
-- Why is it ok for North Carolina to discriminate against LGBT people?

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A CBC Editorial: Friday, July 22, 2016; Editorial# 8032
​The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Remember the lunch counters of the past where blacks were refused service? Under North Carolina’s House Bill 2 it is legal for a lunch counter manager in North Carolina to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual customers. Employers could fire workers just because they might be LGBT. Hard to believe, but it’s true.

The NBA believes it. As a result, on Thursday it decided such discrimination was intolerable and it must move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, an economic blow to the community estimated at $100 million.

The dark shadow of HB2 seems to be everywhere. The gloom even hangs over the Olympic training camp for the U.S. men’s basketball team.

Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski, who is the U.S. team’s head coach, talked to reporters about the bill after it was revealed that the State University of New York at Albany’s basketball team was cancelling a scheduled November game at Duke because of a ban on non-essential state-funded travel to North Carolina in reaction to HB2.

“It’s an embarrassing bill. That’s all I’m going to say about it,” Coach K, a West Point graduate who cut his coaching teeth under another straight-talker, Bobby Knight, told USA Today.

Mark Gottfried, the coach at N.C. State University, told USA Today that he was “appalled” by HB2. He said he’s embarrassed when athletes' parents ask about it during recruiting visits.

“I’m against any law that allows discrimination, whether that’s based on race, gender, sexual orientation.” Gottfried said. “I don’t understand how someone can support this. I think the people at N.C. State, we believe in inclusion. Being a resident of the state, for me and my family, it’s been frustrating.”

Three months ago, as the UNC Tar Heels were preparing to play for the NCAA championship in Houston, Roy Williams was asked about HB2:

“Roy Williams, University of North Carolina, University of North Carolina basketball has always been about diversity. My mentor (former coach Dean Smith) was big about diversity and including everyone,” Williams said.

It isn’t easy for anyone who, like Krzyzewski, Gottfried and Williams, are in highly visible, non-political posts, to take public stands on controversial issues. It speaks to the degree to which HB2 and disdain for bigotry transcend partisanship that these three voice their opposition in such unequivocal terms.

They travel the nation and the world. Their recruiting of student-athletes takes them into homes where parents concerns are for more than a game, but also include the environment their children will be learning in and values and life-lessons they’ll be taught.

Krzyzewski, Gottfried and Williams are successful because they know what it takes to win and how to avoid losing.

Take their word for it. Listen to the NBA. HB2 is a loser. It makes discrimination legal. The General Assembly needs to repeal this law.

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