McCrory stands ground on HB2 after NBA decision, calls controversy 'PC BS'

As the fallout continues over the NBA's decision to pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday fiercely defended House Bill 2 and accused the "political left in Charlotte" of generating controversy over the issue.

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Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — As the fallout continues over the NBA’s decision to pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday fiercely defended House Bill 2 and accused the “political left in Charlotte” of generating controversy over the issue.

In a news conference Friday afternoon, McCrory admitted that he’s worried that other sports franchises or conventions could follow the NBA’s lead.

“Yeah, that’s why I’m calling it out as it is. We’ve got to call this as it is, and it is PC BS,” he said. “It has nothing to do with discrimination, because if it had to do with discrimination, the NBA would be canceling their games in China right now, and the NBA would not be playing in over 20 states that have the exact same laws that we have."

When it announced its plans to move the game from Charlotte on Thursday, the NBA released a statement saying it and the Charlotte Hornets had worked “diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change.”

McCrory said Friday that he’s had positive conversations with the NBA over the issue but said he disagrees with Commissioner Adam Silver’s “politics and his business decision in making this decision.”

"I think the other thing about this is this whole issue came from the left, the political left in Charlotte. It was meant to be used as a distraction against the incredible economic success that we're having in North Carolina,” McCrory said. “I don't think that this has anything to do with the bill that was passed. I think it has to do with a very well-coordinated political campaign that brought from outside North Carolina that was brought into Charlotte."

Data provided to the Charlotte City Council in 2015 suggested that the All-Star Game would have brought in about $100 million, including $60 million in visitor spending alone.

The All-Star Game is just the latest in a long list of athletic events and concerts that have been moved or canceled in reaction to the law.

Duke basketball and field hockey as well as University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill field hockey have all had to cancel games against the University of Albany because of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order banning publicly funded, non-essential travel to North Carolina.

The NCAA has also enacted anti-discrimination measures for any school hosting playoff events. Schools must prove they don't discriminate with their facilities and operations before they can host a sanctioned NCAA tournament.

McCrory said Friday that he wants sports organizations and other groups looking at hosting events in the state to respect the democratic and legal process over House Bill 2.

"I'm still not sure what this issue has to do with corporation or a sports and entertainment wanting to come to our state. It's a lot of propaganda and false information that has been directed toward our state, and I'm going to call people out on the misinformation that's been directed toward us,” he said.

Passed in March, House Bill 2 sets a statewide nondiscrimination standard that excludes LBGT individuals. It forbids cities and counties from applying broader standards in local ordinances or contracts.

The measure also requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom in schools and government buildings that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificates. While the measure doesn’t set policy for businesses, it prevents local governments from enacting laws like the one in Charlotte that required businesses to allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice.

The bill is now the subject of several lawsuits in federal courts. Those include a case brought on behalf of transgender individuals, as well as a federal suit seeking to have provisions of the law enjoined. State officials have also sued to ward off federal action. The U.S. Department of Justice has warned the state and the UNC system that federal funding could be at risk as a result of the law.

As process issues are sorted out, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder is scheduled to hold a hearing in Aug. 1 to determine whether the law should be put on hold while the legal battles are fought.


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