I know what you're thinking...how can someone oppose the NBA on the All-Star Game and support Charlotte, on Huffington Post? But read this article all the way through before you decide that punishing the city of Charlotte is a good thing.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders praised the National Basketball Association for its decision to pull the NBA All-Star Game from Charlotte. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, UNC's Roy Williams and NC State's Mark Gottfried spoke out against House Bill 2.
But think about how the whole controversy began. The city of Charlotte took the bold step of accommodating transgender people with a progressive bathroom policy.
The state of North Carolina retaliated by passing a law designed to stop Charlotte from adopting this plan. In fact, they are punishing Charlotte for having such a policy in the first place.
Let's pretend that Charlotte never did anything, didn't rock the boat, and didn't take a bold stand. They'd host that NBA game, right?
What essentially the NBA, and anyone else who boycotts Charlotte is saying, is that a city shouldn't try to help anyone, or expand one's freedom, because if the state opposes it, guess who will get in trouble? The city, of course, pays the price.
If the NBA cared about those who take a stand, they would reward the city of Charlotte by hosting the game there, using as many vendors as possible. Meanwhile, they would shun any vendor, there or otherwise, from the rest of the state or regions that supports policies it disagrees with.
Similarly, the state of New York had SUNY Albany pull out of a game against Duke University, despite Coach Krzyzewski's impassioned arguments against HB2. So why punish Coach K, who was actually on the front lines in North Carolina, defending what the state of New York wants? Duke should be rewarded for taking a courageous stand against the governor and legislature.
I listened to someone on sports radio attack the NBA for forcing their views on the state of North Carolina. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory echoed those sentiments, saying:
"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."
Radio host Dan Patrick pointed out that the NBA wasn't doing that. They were simply deciding where they wanted the all-star game, and it's not in North Carolina anymore. It's up to North Carolina to make its own laws.
I wish the NBA, New York, and other HB2 opponents nationwide had decided not to punish a city and a university coach for taking a brave stand. Given that the NBA and New York support the progressive policy, the two shouldn't engage in "friendly fire" by going after those with the guts to take a progressive position. It will ultimately lead to more of the status quo, and less positive change, if liberal cities in conservative states push for change.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.