Coach K, Barkley Speak Out Against HB2 During NCAA Tournament
March Madness returns to South Carolina this week for the first time since 2002, ending a 15-year NCAA boycott the against holding championships in the state as a result of the Confederate flag being flown over its statehouse. That flag came down in 2015, clearing the way for Greenville, South Carolina, to host games once again. But games are returning to South Carolina earlier than it expected. That’s because the NCAA pulled tournament games out of North Carolina in response to the state passing House Bill 2, regulating the use of public bathrooms for transgender people.
At his press conference in Greenville, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski opened his remarks by discussing how for one month a year, college basketball has the power to unite people—which then led him to discuss what could divide us. At first said he didn’t want to get political, but he couldn’t resist criticizing the bill that has cost the school’s basketball-obsessed their home state tournament games.
“It would be nice if our state got as smart and also would host, not just basketball tournaments, but concerts and other NCAA events. But maybe we’ll get there in the next century, I don’t know. We’ll see.
Look, it’s a stupid thing. That’s my political statement. If I was president or governor I’d get rid of it. And I’d back up my promises. As unusual as that might be. Anyway, I don’t want to get too political.”
CBS aired the comments by Krzyzewski in full, which led Charles Barkley to back Coach K.’s statement, reiterating his opposition to the controversial transgender bathroom bill put in place by former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.
“No. 1, I really admire and respect coach Krzyzewski because he doesn’t have to do anything. He’s already a living legend. He’s got more money than he’s ever gonna spend, but I really appreciate him standing up for my gay friends.
“Now, my point, as a black man, I am against any form of discrimination whether you’re gay, Muslim, Hispanic, Jewish, whatever, and, if people in position of power don’t support these people, they’re gonna be left in a lurch by themselves.
“All these other groups are getting to feel what black people feel like now. With the Muslim ban, they’re deporting these immigrants, white folks are actually getting an opportunity to feel what black people have always felt. Discrimination is wrong in any shape whatsoever.”
While there are a lot of justifiable criticisms to be made about the NCAA, especially around this time of year, its stance on HB2 has been a commendable one.
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