It was late March of 2016 when the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate passed House Bill 2 and it was signed by former NC Governor Pat McCrory. Since that day more than a year ago, the image of North Carolina has taken a powerful hit for the contents of the Bill, which eliminated anti-discrimination protections from the LGBTQ community and prevented such laws to be placed. Since then, a number of high profile musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Maroon Five, and Demi Lovato have cancelled concerts held in NC, companies such as Paypal and Deutsche Bank has ended expansions in the state, meaning a loss of potential jobs.
However, the loss that seemed to affect people was the loss of collegiate Division I games and tournaments from the state. Following the NBA’s July decision of relocating the 2016-17 All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans, the NCAA took seven tournaments out of the state, including games from this year’s 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the 2016 ACC Football Championship.
With the threat of more tournaments loss looming with the ACC determining tournament locations from 2018-22 and the conference already determining the continuation of HB2 to be a deal breaker for any tournaments, going so far as giving North Carolina a 48 hour deadline on March 28 to repeal and replace it, the partial repeal of HB2 was signed on March 30. HB142, the replacement to HB2, does end the bill’s bathroom component, meaning that transgendered individuals can use the bathroom and locker room of their gender identity without state regulation.
However, HB142 keeps HB2’s prohibition the establishment of LGBTQ from local government over the next three years and anti-discrimination laws in place prior to HB2 that were passed by local government does not go back effect. These remaining components has created another controversy on the validity of calling the bill a repeal. Still, sports have looked at the new HB142 as a good enough compromise.
The NBA and NCAA has since re-opened the state of North Carolina as a place to hold games and tournaments over the next few years. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who ten months ago took the All-Star Game out of Charlotte, has made Charlotte eligible to hosting the 2019 game. The NCAA will announce the sites of their tournaments over the next few years later this month, with sites in North Carolina also being considered.
According to Forbes, NC has lost about 197.3 million dollars in revenue from athletics. So after a year, what can we take from HB2 and sports?
One element to take is the reminder that the NBA, NCAA, and all these collegiate and professional sport leagues are still a business. Despite the outcry of criticism over the seemingly weak HB142, these leagues have reopened the door for North Carolina to host their games and tournaments. And North Carolina has shown to be a valuable economic spot for these games and tournaments. Though this seems like a cold truth, something a little more reassuring can also be taken from this.
It wasn’t the loss of banks, musicians, or even Gov. McCrory’s defeat in the 2016 gubernatorial election that was the straw to break the HB2 camel’s back. It is really interesting that on March 28, the NCAA gave the state a 48 hours to get rid of HB2 and on March 30, HB2 was replaced.
According to a press release from the NCAA, they still have some issues with the new bill, despite allowing the state to being considered as a host spot.
“ While the new law meets the minimal NCAA requirements, the board remains concerned that some may perceive North Carolina’s moratorium against affording opportunities for communities to extend basic civil rights as a signal that discriminatory behavior is permitted and acceptable, which is inconsistent with the NCAA Bylaws.”
Meaning that this isn’t the last time we will hear about this issue from the arena of athletics. Players and coaches from these leagues, including NC coaches like Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski, will continue to speak out for future laws such as HB2 and as long as these leagues add the pressure of taking away games from the state, a second HB2 bill will be difficult to pass again.