There is no there, there: Political peacocking abounds

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The NCAA announced on Monday that it will move seven championship events from the the state of North Carolina this academic year as the result of the state’s controversial HB2 bathroom law. The events pulled include the first and second round of the 2017 NCAAAA men’s basketball tournament, the Division I women’s soccer championship College Cup, the Division III men’s and women’s soccer championships, the Division I women’s golf championship regional, the Division III men’s and women’s tennis championship,  the Division I women’s lacrosse championship in Cary and the Division II baseball championship. Future sites for these events are yet to be determined.

The NCAA’s Board of Governors released a statement saying, “Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee the host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state”. Furthermore, the NCAA said the deciding factors in their decision to move the events were that the North Carolina law “invalidated any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class or has a purpose to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals.”

This decision by the NCAA follows similar actions by the NBA and many musical acts which have withdrawn events scheduled for the state as a result of the law which has been described as “discriminatory, troubling and embarassing”.

In response to the NCAA’s statement North Carolina Republican Party spokeswoman Kami Mueller stated,

“This is so absurd it’s almost comical. I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams. Under the NCAA’s logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms. This decision is an assault to female athletes across the nation. If you are unwilling to have women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, how do you have a women’s team?

“I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor,” Mueller continued. “Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking — and instead focus their energies on making sure our nation’s collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field.”

These sentiments follow similar, though less fiery, rhetoric used by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory after the NBA’s move to withdraw their All-Star game and festivities from Charlotte. McCory’s statement was as follows,

“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present.

“Twenty-one other states have joined North Carolina to challenge the federal overreach by the Obama administration mandating their bathroom policies in all businesses and schools instead of allowing accommodations for unique circumstances. Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”

Taking these statements by their words they are misguided, factually incorrect and insulting. First, the letter of the North Carolina law has nothing to do with female athletes. Second, it has nothing to do with the sexual assaults at Baylor University which were perpetrated by male football players and covered up by coaches and the university administration. Third, you can’t argue that the law has been misrepresented resulting in the withdrawal of these events and then argue in favor of those positions which caused the withdrawals. Fourth, the twenty-one other states and the state of North Carolina do not constitute a majority, much less a “large majority”. In fact, two separate polls found the law barely has majority support in North Carolina and a majority percent believe the has not made the state any safer and has had a negative impact on the state. This means it’s not just the “left-wing special interest groups” and “sports and entertainment elite” who are engaging in “political peacocking” and pushing against this law.

Finally, these arguments aren’t new. The same arguments were pushed by those who didn’t, or still don’t, believe homosexuals and minorities should share the same spaces as others. Or giving a “slippery slope” argument as to how this one decision will lead to inexorably worse things down the road. However, there are a few problems with these arguments. First, allowing individuals to use bathrooms according to their chosen gender identity does not result in more sexual assaults on women. Second, even if the law is not repealed it does not prevent men from entering women’s bathrooms and assaulting women. Third, the current law increases the probability of assaults on transgender individuals. It also has a negative effect on their education and employment and has the overall effect of making these individuals feel less safe. In short, the law is benefiting nobody and perpetuating prejudices.

And again, it’s hurting the state. If more citizens of the state in which the law passed disagree than agree with it yet the elected representatives of those citizens continue issuing strongly-worded statements in favor of the law and denouncing all efforts which disagree with their point of view, who’s doing the peacocking? Which could be why nearly every major poll has North Carolina Governor Pat McCory losing his upcoming election.

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