North Carolina’s odious House Bill 2 – known as HB2 – doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. The same can’t be said for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, which will be pulled from Charlotte in response according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
The league could announce the move as soon as this week. Commissioner Adam Silver said in April “a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event” but was hopeful the NBA could work with state leaders. In the four month since, however, he has learned, along with everyone else, that being hopeful for compromise from the right-wing legislature is a fool’s errand, and when they finally offered perhaps the smallest concession they possibly could in the face of an avalanche of criticism and boycotts the league apparently followed through on its threat to leave.
New Orleans is believed to be the front-runner to take Charlotte’s place.
HB2 was steamrolled through the House and Senate on March 23 in a one-day specially convened session, going into law in less than 24 hours when it was signed by governor Pat McCrory. Senate democrats walked out of their vote in protest. Known as “The Bathroom Bill,” HB2 mandates people use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate, but while that provision has gotten the most attention there are other even more insidious and unrelated aspects to the law.
For instance, HB2 also sets statewide nondiscrimination policies that pointedly exclude protections for gay or transgender people while eliminating the right of citizens to file discrimination lawsuits in state court. It also sets a statewide minimum wage matching the federal minimum wage, and municipalities are prohibited from enacting any local anti-discrimination laws or higher minimum wages.
The NBA All-Star game becomes the latest in a growing list of events, conventions and/or companies to leave North Carolina because of HB2, including Deutsche Bank, PayPal, Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam. Now at risk are NCAA championship events, including men’s basketball tournament regionals slated for Greensboro in 2017 and Charlotte in 2018, though all of that pales in comparison to the more than $2 billion in federal education funding on the line for the state after the U.S. Justice Department concluded HB2 violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX.