The community of Charlotte, North Carolina was preparing to host the biggest three days in basketball: the All-Star weekend, scheduled for early next year. It was an appropriate city for the event. In addition to being the home of NBA team the Charlotte Hornets, it’s the hometown of Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Seth Curry and his little known older brother Steph (he plays for Golden State).
The anticipation was jolted by an announcement by the National Basketball Association that the All-Star game would be moved because of the league’s objection to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2).
The bill’s essential problem, in the eyes of the league, is discrimination. ESPN writes that the law “most notably requires that people use bathrooms in publicly funded spaces that reflect the gender associated with the biological sex on their birth certificates”. This allegedly discriminates against people who identify with a gender other than their biological one.
To state the news a different way: The representatives of the people of North Carolina have made a decision that they believe is best for the safety of the citizens of their state that involves the manner in which public spaces are used. Now the city of Charlotte and the people of North Carolina are being punished as a result.
While avoiding the raging argument about the twisted ethics of indiscriminately allowing people to deny their biological gender when they go to the restroom, I believe it has to be pointed out that the NBA’s decision has far reaching implications. Not only about discrimination, but about the rights of individuals and persons to express their beliefs and act upon them.
The NBA, unconsciously, is not only declaring what they believe to be right: they are stating that the state of North Carolina has to agree with them, or else. However, the state’s decision does not involve invasion of the individuals lives of its LGBTQ community or the use of private property. It is well within the people’s rights to regulate how their public spaces restrooms.
The argument is definitely one of principle. It does not make any material difference in the LGBTQ community of North Carolina to be restricted in their restroom use, but the moral victory for them is invaluable. On the other hands, proponents of the law within the state believe they are taking measures that they believe will ultimately protect the children of their schools.
The NBA has rescheduled the event in Charlotte to 2019, on the condition that the situation changes to suit their position. Regardless of how these events play out, however, the League’s decision has immediate implications that cannot be ignored: if a state cannot be allowed to honestly act on its beliefs without paying a price, the same will be true of individuals as things move forward. The demand for tolerance of any and every demand of the LGBTQ community is coming at the cost of freedom belief by everyone else.
In its push against discrimination and tolerance, the NBA has discriminated against a state for its choice and behaved intolerantly of the beliefs of that state’s legislature and governor. We all should feel compelled to evaluate the strength of our positions on these issues, since they may come at a cost in the end.