The NCAA made a bold statement six months ago when it refused to hold championship events in North Carolina in response to HB2, the state’s “bathroom bill” that required transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponded with the sex they had been assigned at birth.
On Monday, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts) called for the NCAA to continue their boycott.
Kennedy explained that the law passed in North Carolina repealing HB 2 still discriminates against transgender people.
According to CNN, the new law, HB 142, leaves regulation of bathroom access “solely in control of the Legislature,” a key component of HB 2. It also “prevents local governments … from passing or amending their own nondiscrimination ordinances relating to private employment and public accommodation.”
In a letter addressed to the NCAA last week, Kennedy, who is the chair of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force, said:
‘When it comes to civil rights there are not compromises, negotiations or trade-offs. Either the laws of this country apply equally to all of us or they don’t. By barring local anti-discrimination laws, North Carolina is leaving their transgender community without the protections any other citizen enjoys. That is the definition of discrimination. In recent years, the NCAA has set the bar high for tolerance and equality both on the court and in the stands. I applaud their leadership and urge them to consider this compromise what it is: A sham.’
Kennedy also tweeted similar sentiments on Monday morning:
We don't compromise on civil rights. Either the laws of this country protect all of us equally — or they don't. https://t.co/Hr9g0JAR6J
— Joe Kennedy (@joekennedy) April 3, 2017
Despite Kennedy’s best efforts, however, it was announced on Tuesday that the NCAA had “reluctantly” ended its North Carolina boycott. The organization released a statement saying that the new law was sufficient for conducting the NCAA championships in a nondiscriminatory environment.
‘We are actively determining site selections, and this new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment. If we find that our expectations of a discrimination-free environment are not met, we will not hesitate to take necessary action at any time.’
Rep. Kennedy has not yet commented on the NCAA’s decision. However, many critics have already spoken out against it, including Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. In response to the NCAA lifting their boycott, Griffin said:
‘The N.C.A.A.’s decision to backtrack on their vow to protect LGBTQ players, employees and fans is deeply disappointing and puts people at risk. After drawing a line in the sand and calling for repeal of HB2, the N.C.A.A. simply let North Carolina lawmakers off the hook.’
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.