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NBA Officially Capitulates to North Carolina's Bogus HB2 Repeal

Charlotte will host the 2019 NBA All-Star Game despite nobody's satisfaction with North Carolina's half-assed HB2 repeal.
© Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte will host the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, the Charlotte Observer is reporting, ending the league's protest of sorts against North Carolina's anti-transgender HB2 legislation. This comes a month after the NBA officially lifted its ban on Charlotte hosting the event and the NCAA once again allowing playoffs to be held in the state.

To condense years of political battles into a quick summary: HB2 forbade anti-discrimination protections for transgender people on the local level and required anyone in government buildings to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates. When it passed, sports leagues, musicians, and businesses canceled plans to operate in the state, including the NBA, which moved this year's All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans. An Associated Press report estimated the bill would cost the state $3.76 billion over 12 years. Democrats and LGBT activists condemned a blatantly discriminatory law, and supporters of HB2 complained about sports meddling in politics.

In March, HB2 was officially repealed in favor of HB142, which still enacted the ban on local anti-discrimination laws for three years. Nobody likes HB142. HB2 supporters didn't get the bathroom ban they wanted, while civil-rights advocates point out transgender people are still not provided equal protection under the law and local governments have no recourse against that. Even NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the NCAA, the two sports entities most involved in the HB2 backlash, don't like the new law.

So why does Charlotte get to host the All-Star Game again? Probably for the same reason HB142 got passed in the first place: so everyone can say they did something. The NBA gets to claim they helped repeal a hate-filled law, even though they have accepted another form of legal discrimination in its place. The thing about advocating for equal rights, though, is that there aren't supposed to be compromises—you either have equal rights under the law, or you don't. Everyone admits that HB142 is the latter, and yet the NBA seems to be OK with that.