The NCAA released the sites of its upcoming postseason events through 2022 Tuesday afternoon, and as was expected, the governing body of college sports made its return to North Carolina official, announcing the Tar Heel state will host 36 men’s and women’s tournaments and postseason competitions. In addition to the upcoming NCAA events—which include the 2019 women’s basketball tournament regionals in Raleigh as well as the first and second rounds of the men’s basketball tournament in Greensboro in 2020 and Raleigh in 2021—Charlotte will also be allowed to remain a host of the opening rounds in the upcoming 2018 tournament.
Two months ago, the NCAA’s boycott of North Carolina seemed likely to extend to 2022—neither side of the aisle in the General Assembly would budge on a compromise. Democrats wanted a full repeal and Republicans, holding a supermajority, wanted to keep HB2 in place or find a repeal that would reinforce the state’s control over public restrooms and the ability to determine whose discrimination is worthy of legal repercussion.
The deadline the NCAA gave North Carolina lawmakers was initially reported to have been set for the end of February; it turned out to be the end of March. Once notified of the new deadline and the subsequent possibility of losing NCAA events for four years, the General Assembly was spurred to gut an existing bill (HB 142) and fill it with what would become the HB2 repeal. The resulting bill featured a three-year moratorium on cities drafting similar anti-discrimination ordinances like the one Charlotte passed to start the ordeal (a repeal proposed in December had the moratorium at six months) and reinforced the state legislature’s power over bathroom options.
In effect, the power of North Carolina’s progressive hubs to pass LGBTQ protections in a state that needs it most were knee-capped in favor of leaving such decisions up to state legislators who compare Lincoln to Hitler, think of secession as a real option, and would prefer the state completely deregulate the buying of handguns.
But the NCAA (along with the ACC and NBA) are not the sole actors in this case. While the sports leagues were quick to bite on the rushed General Assembly’s compromise—the bill went through a divisive voting process in which both sides lambasted the new bill as a half-measure—several state legislatures and city governments were not as easily exposed as profit-concerned hacks.
Over the past two weeks, a collection of states and major American cities have issued statements to reassure their constituents that their tax money will not be spent on travel expenses related to sending public sports teams or employees to North Carolina.
- California attorney general Xavier Becerra announced via press release that the Golden State would not remove North Carolina from its banned travel list.
- Washington governor Jay Islee issued a letter to reinforce the same sentiment for his state.
- A spokesperson for Minnesota governor Mark Dayton told the Washington Blade the state will not lift its ban.
- Seattle mayor Ed Murray tweeted that the “NCAA can end its N. Carolina boycott but we remain unbowed until they fully #RepealHB2 & end discrimination.”
- A spokesperson for Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser told the Washington Blade, “At this time, Mayor Bowser has no plans to lift the ban.”
- Cincinnati councilman Chris Seelbach tweeted that HB142 was “just renaming of same bad law.”
- Burlington mayor Miro Weinberger wrote last Monday that “North Carolina’s new law does nothing to protect transgender individuals and creates a unique prohibition against municipalities taking any action to reduce discrimination.”
- Salt Lake City mayor Jackie Biskupski tweeted that HB 142 “harms #LGBT folks in NC and limits good cities like #Charlotte.”
- A spokesperson for Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed told the Georgia Voice, “The City of Atlanta has no plans to lift the restriction at this time. Our current position remains.”
- Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti wrote in a press release that, “the law signed last week by Governor Cooper does nothing to protect the rights and dignity of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters” and affirmed that L.A. will keep the ban in place.
- Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh tweeted that “Baltimore respects all people, and we stand with those who respect the rights of others. Travel ban to NC still in place.”
- The Twitter account belonging to the office of NYC mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted last Wednesday that, “The ban on non-essential travel to North Carolina for city employees will remain until the state protects the transgender community.”
- Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel released a lengthy statement, saying, “Until North Carolina acknowledges the rights of the LGBTQ community and treats all individuals fairly, the City of Chicago will be taking our business elsewhere, and we encourage others to do the same.”
North Carolina lawmakers have already attempted to threaten sports leagues that have already proven willing to re-draw their line in the sand; based on the above list, it looks like they’ve got some more shitty bills to draft.