Huge sports boycott of North Carolina over anti-LGBT law

Governor Pat McCrory (Pic: Hal Goodtree)

Governor Pat McCrory (Pic: Hal Goodtree)

The organisation that regulates college sports in the US is boycotting the state of North Carolina because of its reviled anti-LGBT law.

On Monday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that it was relocating the seven championship events scheduled to take place in the state during the 2016-17 academic year.

The NCAA oversees athletes from 1,281 institutions, conferences, organisations, and individuals, and organises the athletic programmes of many colleges and universities in the US and Canada.

The organisation said that the North Carolina law makes it difficult to ensure that NCAA championships and events are able to “promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans”.

The championships that have been relocated encompass sports such as soccer, basketball, golf, tennis, lacrosse and baseball.

“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” explained Mark Emmert, NCAA President. “We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships.”

North Carolina’s controversial HB2 law was enacted in March and removes municipal LGBT non-discrimination protections in the state and prevents similar protections from being passed by cities in the future.

It also forces transgender students in public schools and universities as well as people in state buildings to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.

“The NCAA just sent a clear message to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers that it will not tolerate hateful laws targeting student athletes, fans, and employees,” commented Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin.

“Every day that HB2 remains on the books, countless people across North Carolina are at risk of real harm,” said Griffin. “It’s long past time state lawmakers repealed this vile law, and if they don’t, the majority of voters opposed to HB2 will ensure they pay the price in [the] November [elections].”

McCrory has refused to consider repealing the law, despite the massive economic damage it is causing his state.

Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro added: “Pat McCrory clearly knew that signing HB2 would not just endanger LGBT North Carolinians, but would cost us business, tourism, and events like this. The answer: we must repeal HB2 and we must have real leadership in the governor’s office in 2017.”

The NCAA’s announcement follows the NBA’s recent decision to move its 2017 All-Star Game out of the state because of HB2, costing North Carolina an estimated 100 million dollars in related profits.

The state has also been boycotted by major film studios and corporations, who have stopped investments in the state because of the law’s threat to employees and consumers. Artists such Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Pearl Jam have called off their shows in the state in protest.

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