North Carolina HB2 Boycott Goes Totally South
In a shocking turn of events, it seems the NCAA has fallen for a bait and switch maneuver by the North Carolina legislature and has granted permission for the state to once again host high profile sports tournaments.
Following an NCAA ultimatum to North Carolina to repeal its controversial House Bill 2 that required transgender individuals to use public bathrooms corresponding to their birth sex or risk losing all high profile sports tournaments for five years, the state finally took action. On March 29 Roy Cooper, the new Democratic governor of North Carolina finally reached an agreement with the Republican-controlled legislature to repeal the bill. However, the new so-called compromise bill, HB142 simply replaces one discriminatory, anti-transgender bathroom bill with another.
While meeting the NCAA’s minimum requirements to allow the state to once again host high profile sports tournaments, according to HRC and Equality NC, the state’s general assembly “reserves total control over bathroom access throughout the state – no city, state agency, public university or school board can ever adopt a policy that ensures transgender people have access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity.” They continue to say that “Further, no city can even consider passing any protections for LGBTQ people until 2020. At the end of this discriminatory ‘moratorium,’ cities will still be prevented from ensuring transgender people are able to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.”
Rather than even considering any hint of wrong thinking on their part, the vitriolic response coming from the NC Republican-dominated legislature has been fast and furious. It filed HB728 that says if an intercollegiate athletic association boycotts the state, then the University of North Carolina (UNC) campuses that belong to that conference are prohibited from extending to the conference the grant of media rights. Additionally, it requires the UNC campuses to then provide written notice to that conference of their intent to leave the conference once those media rights expire. Only Duke and Wake Forest would be unaffected since they don’t receive state funds.
So it appears that the NCAA, despite their once-fervent claim to continue the boycott, has blinked. And the repeal of HB2 has been enough for the Justice Department under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to voluntarily withdraw the lawsuit filed last year by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Now the NBA is also open to returning its All-Star Game to the state in 2019.
Groundbreaking Marathoner Katherine Switzer is Still in the Race
Marathoner Katherine Switzer ran in this year’s Boston Marathon, finishing the race in 4:40:50. Not bad for a 70-year-old who quit running for 30 years, taking it up again just eight years ago. Particularly impressive is that her current time is just 10 minutes off her original 1967 run time. It was that year that the 20-year-old journalism student decided to change history – and she did. The ugly sexism on display that day for all to see launched her career as a women’s sports advocate.
It was 50 years ago when Switzer first decided to run in the iconic … and all-male … Boston Marathon by registering using just her initials – K.V. Switzer. Roberta Gibb had run the race the year before but she hadn’t registered and had kept her gender a secret by wearing a hooded sweatshirt. But Switzer, openly wearing lipstick and earrings, ran beside her boyfriend, making it clear to everyone that she was a woman competing against a field of men.
In her memoir, “Marathon Woman,” she recalled that just a few miles into the race its director Jock Semple chased her down and tried to take her official race number 261 while shouting, ‘Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!’ Thanks to interference from fellow runners, she finished the race and in 2012 went on to form 261 Fearless, a foundation to empower women through running.
Sports Icon Magic Johnson on Supporting Your Gay Children
Basketball legend Magic Johnson, whose son EJ came out in 2013, sat down with Ellen DeGeneres and shared his thoughts for parents of gay children. Talking about EJ, Johnson said: “It’s all about you not trying to decide what your daughter or son should be or what you want them to become. It’s all about loving them no matter who they are, what they decide to do. And when my son came out, I was so happy for him and happy for us as parents and we love him, and EJ is amazing.”
He added: “So you gotta support your child because there’s so many people who try to discriminate against them so they need you to support them because if you don’t support them, who’s going to support them and love them?” To watch the video, go to: