STAM: The breathtaking hypocrisy of the sports world

Christine T. Nguyen—North State Journal
The Florida State Seminoles stand during the National Anthem before the ACC Baseball Championship on Sunday

Reporting on the H.B. 2 sports “boycott” has been endlessly repetitive but rarely accurate. Here are a few facts that may add perspective:The NCAA apparently forgot that the 2016 Final Four was played in Texas (same laws on discrimination as North Carolina) in the city of Houston, which by referendum had rejected the Charlotte-type ordinance only a few months earlier. When the ACC joined the NCAA boycott, four championships were relocated from Greensboro to cities where the laws relating to discrimination are the same, virtually the same, or even less “protective” of LGBT claims than those now in effect in Greensboro: the Men’s NCAA Regional Basketball Tournament went to Greenville, S.C.; the ACC Women’s Golf Championship went to Pawley’s Island, S.C.; the ACC Women’s Basketball Championship went to Conway, S.C.; and the NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships went to Salem, Virginia.Greensboro has provisions for non-discrimination in government employment at the state, county, and city level that include the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity. These policies for government employees are expressly not preempted by H.B. 2.Left-wing groups claim that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts are discriminatory for legalizing denial of service. Remember Indiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. North Carolina has no Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Both South Carolina and Virginia do.You would think that these facts would be of interest to the people of Greensboro and its Chamber of Commerce. But the Greensboro newspaper has never mentioned them.In October, CoStar Group chose to locate a 730-job project in Richmond, Virginia instead of Charlotte. The CoStar CEO said that H.B. 2 was “more controversy than we want to engage in right now.” Everyone claimed that CoStar’s decision was made primarily because of H.B. 2. But CoStar chose Richmond, where the laws relating to discrimination are no more “protective” of LGBT claims than those currently in effect in Charlotte. You would think that the readers of the Charlotte newspaper and the members of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce would be interested in these facts.And who can forget PayPal? When PayPal announced in March that it was not taking North Carolina’s $3.6 million to locate in Charlotte, the laws of N.C. were identical to the laws in N.C. when PayPal made its announcement earlier in March that it was coming to Charlotte.So where did PayPal land its new facility? After 10 months, it has gone nowhere, but is exploring Rhode Island. PayPal will discover that Rhode Island ranks 45th in the National Tax Foundation’s state rankings for tax policy. While PayPal ponders profits versus its principles, it continues to operate major facilities in Texas (data service office), Nebraska (main office), and Arizona (technology center), each with laws in place like those in N.C. But PayPal is willing to operate in 25 nations where homosexual acts are crimes. In several of the nations where PayPal makes lots of money, homosexuals are executed. PayPal has a very strange sense of propriety.This “boycott” needs some work by its organizers. The reason the boycott won’t work is that 28 states have virtually the same laws on discrimination as North Carolina. The Obama Department of Education tried to force all public schools to embrace the Charlotte-type ordinance through threats of loss of federal funding. But the federal courts put a nationwide injunction against those efforts. The injunction does not apply to North Carolina because lawsuits were already pending here. As soon as the Trump administration revokes the Obama threats, that issue is likely to go away.The proponents of Charlotte-type ordinances claim that 100-200 cities have Charlotte-type ordinances. But that means there are about 10,000 cities and towns around America that don’t. When the big sports businesses figure this out, the boycott will fizzle. (For more documentation, visit www.paulstam.info.)Let’s hope Gov. Roy Cooper will realize that he needs to keep the economy that he inherited humming more than he needs to continue this as a campaign issue.Former Rep. Paul Stam was a primary sponsor of H.B. 2 and was speaker pro tem of the N.C. House of Representatives when it passed. He practices law in Apex.