HB2 ‘repeal’: You know what they say about opinions…

Lots of opinions out there about the “repeal” of HB2–whether it’s good, bad or ugly. But no opinions matter more than those of sportswriters at North Carolina’s daily newspapers.

Given the blackmail on the part of the ACC and NCAA, HB2 is indeed a sports story, so it’s appropriate that sportswriters would offer their opinions, even if–as they say—opinions are like a certain body part—everyone’s got one. Hence the many common man (and woman) commenters scratching their heads over the fact that sportswriters actually get paid to offer their opinions.

First up is News & Record columnist Ed Hardin. Now I’ve got to grudgingly give Hardin some credit here. While covering NCAA Tournament games in Greenville—instead of Greensboro, thanks to HB2–he did at least notice the irony of how the simple removal of a flag transformed South Carolina from the most horrible, wretched place on earth to a bastion of tolerance worthy of the NCAA’s grace.

Today Hardin weighs in on the HB2 repeal:

This was clumsy and poorly planned. And now the best thing for the ACC schools to do just might be to say “No, thank you.”

Of course, they probably won’t.

Both the league and the NCAA sounded less than enthused after the General Assembly tried to “reset” House Bill 2, a law known as the “bathroom bill.” A long day that began with a rushed vote ended with the ACC saying it would let its Council of Presidents decide what to do next and NCAA president Mark Emmert saying it would wait before making any decision on North Carolina’s future as a host for postseason championships.

….Sports are supposed to be fun. The games are our escape from politics and politicians. But on a dreary day in March, with one of our schools in the Final Four, we watched elected officials throw a toxic political potato back and forth trying to come up with a compromise that had the state wedged between bathrooms and basketball tournaments.

I couldn’t agree with the last point more, but I’ll ask exactly who’s injecting politics into sports? If you answer the NCAA and ACC, not Phil Berger and Tim Moore, then I’d say you’re correct. Next we have Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler, who offers a stronger opinion:

It’s obvious that this HB2 repeal or reset or whatever you want to call it – I’d call it the “Oh man, we better look like we’re doing something fast or we’re never going to get re-elected!” – had a strong sense of urgency. The NCAA will soon hand out another string of championship site selections for the years 2018-2022. North Carolina wants to be back in that game.

It’s not clear whether what happened Thursday was sufficient in the eyes of the NCAA for North Carolina to be included in the selection process again, but it shouldn’t be. Why include N.C. when its state lawmakers are still being exclusionary themselves in the way they treat a significant part of our population? The NCAA should tell North Carolina lawmakers to go pound sand.

Note commenters don’t think much of Fowler’s opinion–sports or otherwise. But my guess is the NCAA will give in and grant North Carolina its grace again. As my sainted mother used to say, no one’s going to know the difference in a hundred years. Attention spans are much, much shorter in the sports world, even among sportswriters with their lofty opinions.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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  • Fred Gregory

    The defects and faults of the mind are like wounds in the body; after all imaginable care has been taken to heal them up, still there will be a scar left behind, and they are in continual danger of breaking the skin and bursting out again.

    Francois de La Rochefoucauld