With an NCAA deadline approaching, North Carolina’s House Bill 2 continues to remain a hot topic in the Tar Heel state.
UNC head coach Roy Williams took his Carolina men’s basketball team to Greenville, South Carolina, for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament last weekend. The games were set to be held in Greensboro but were removed over HB2, which advocates maintain is the worst piece of anti-LGBT legislation in the nation.
But Williams said concern over the law should extend well beyond sports.
“It shouldn’t just be about athletic events,” Williams said. “That’s the most important thing. It should be about what’s right and wrong and what we have now is wrong.”
Williams was speaking at a press conference Tuesday as the Tar Heels are preparing to take on Butler in the Sweet 16 on Friday in Memphis. While UNC escaped Greenville with two wins, Duke was not as lucky. The Blue Devils lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks, who were playing an NCAA Tournament game in their home state for the first time in decades. The NCAA had banned any events being held in South Carolina while the Confederate battle flag flew over the State House.
“Duke paid the price this weekend because they had a very significant road crowd down there,” Williams said. “But the biggest thing is, guys, it’s just not right.”
Williams went beyond HB2, saying he felt most of the political process was wrong now because of the political divide across the United States.
“We don’t have any cooperation,” Williams said. “We have people on one side that are Republican, the other side that are Democratic, and we have nobody being willing to compromise for what’s best.
“If you bring it up, well I’ve got to stick with you. If you bring it up, I’ve got to stick with you. I think that’s wrong, flat-out wrong.”
Democratic North Carolina Senator Joel Ford introduced a bill on Tuesday that would repeal House Bill 2. But Ford’s proposal also drew criticism because it would add in a moratorium – or “cooling-off period” – where local governments would not be able to extend nondiscrimination ordinances until 30 days after the adjournment of this legislative session.
The cooling-off period was first introduced by Republican Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger in a December special session of the General Assembly aimed at repealing House Bill 2. Berger introduced the moratorium as an amendment to a repeal and both measures failed in the Senate.
Ford tweeted on Tuesday that even though he is filing this bill including a cooling-off period, he would prefer a clean repeal.
There is no word yet if this new proposal will draw enough support to move before an upcoming NCAA deadline, which could exclude North Carolina from hosting any NCAA championship events over the next five years.
That deadline is believed to be by the end of March.