North Carolina GOP bristles: 'So absurd it's almost comical'

Reaction out of North Carolina was swift and widespread and ran the gamut Monday in the wake of the NCAA's removal of seven championship events from the state.

The NCAA's move is in response to a North Carolina law that some say can lead to discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The only championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year will be ones determined when a team earns the right to play on its own campus.

"This is so absurd it's almost comical," North Carolina Republican Party spokeswoman Kami Mueller said in a statement. "I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men's and women's teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams. Under the NCAA's logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms. This decision is an assault to female athletes across the nation. If you are unwilling to have women's bathrooms and locker rooms, how do you have a women's team?

"I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor," Mueller continued. "Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking -- and instead focus their energies on making sure our nation's collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field."

The law -- known as House Bill 2 or HB2 -- requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. HB2 also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide anti-discrimination protections.

Duke athletic director Kevin White said his administration agreed with the move.

"Our position has been clear on this matter, which is that this legislation is discriminatory, troubling and embarrassing," White said in a statement. "We deplore any efforts to deprive individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, of legal protection and rights. We will always be committed to diversity and inclusion, and applaud any efforts to ensure that those values are protected and enacted at all times, and in all places in the state of North Carolina."

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the NCAA for taking "political retaliation" and failing to show respect while the matter is being addressed in the courts.

"The issue of redefining gender and basic norms of privacy will be resolved in the near future in the United States court system for not only North Carolina, but the entire nation," McCrory said in the statement. "I strongly encourage all public and private institutions to both respect and allow our nation's judicial system to proceed without economic threats or political retaliation toward the 22 states that are currently challenging government overreach.

"Sadly, the NCAA, a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt monopoly, failed to show this respect at the expense of our student athletes and hard-working men and women."

The athletic directors at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State also expressed disappointment in the NCAA's decision.

"Carolina Athletics is steadfast in its commitment to fairness, inclusion and ensuring that all who come to our campus for athletics events are welcome," UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. "We are disappointed for the people of this great state, the communities that are scheduled to play host to these championship events and to the students who may be denied the opportunity to compete for championships in their home state."

NC State AD Debbie Yow said the Wolfpack "certainly hope there will be resolution in the very near future."

"NC State provides and promotes equal opportunity and non-discrimination to anyone who works, lives, studies, visits or participates in campus events, courses, programs and services,"Yow said in a statement.

An email for a response from Gov. Pat McCrory on the NCAA's decision wasn't returned Monday night. But Democratic challenger for governor Roy Cooper, also the state attorney general, said "enough is enough."

"We need to repeal this law and get our state back on track," Cooper said in a statement.

When the NBA announced earlier this summer it would relocate the 2017 All-Star Game, which originally was to be played in Charlotte, North Carolina, because of its objection to HB2, McCrory released a statement criticizing its decision.

"American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process," McCrory's statement concluded.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said his conference had previous plans to review the situation at this week'sACC Council of Presidents meeting.

"So it would be premature to make any decisions or announcements regarding ACC championships until our membership is able to discuss," Swofford said. "The league's long-standing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion will continue to be a central theme to our discussions.

"On a personal note, it's time for this bill to be repealed, as it's counter to basic human rights."

Information from ESPN's Andy Katz andThe Associated Press was used in this report.
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