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Sports: Red America’s Achilles Heel

The North Carolina legislature appears set to repeal the state’s controversial bathroom bill today. [1] Here’s a big reason why:

This week, a new flurry of action over House Bill 2 came as the N.C.A.A. warned the state that it could lose the opportunity to host championship sporting events through 2022. The league had already relocated championship tournament games that would have been played in North Carolina during this academic year, including the Division I men’s basketball tournament.

The possibility of further punishment placed tremendous pressure on lawmakers in the basketball-obsessed state, a pressure exacerbated by the fact that the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team has reached the N.C.A.A. tournament’s Final Four and will be squaring off against the University of Oregon on Saturday night.

The Atlantic Coast Conference also moved [2] its neutral-site championships out of North Carolina this year in response to House Bill 2, and the National Basketball Association moved its All-Star game to New Orleans from Charlotte.

Some local news outlets reported [3] this week the N.C.A.A. had set a Thursday deadline for the state to address the bill. Officials at the association could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A league statement last week stated, “Absent any change in the law, our position remains the same regarding hosting current or future events in the state.”

Attention must be paid. You should expect that this strategy is how the NCAA is going to dictate to colleges and university what their LGBT policies are going to be. Want to be part of national college athletics? Then you had better do what the NCAA says. If it comes right down to it, do you think Baylor (for example) would sacrifice its athletic programs or its Christian principles on LGBT matters? If the university leadership decided that it would rather see athletics taken away from them than compromise on its principles, can you imagine how hard alumni would come down on them?

Of course there is no question at all where my alma mater, Louisiana State, would stand if it had to choose. The NCAA could demand at the start of every football season the ritual sacrifice of five Pentecostal virgins on the Tiger Stadium 50-yard-line, and the people of Louisiana wouldn’t bat an eye. Just keep that football coming. Because it’s the true religion.

But LSU is a state school. Conservative Christian colleges and their alumni had better start thinking right now about whether or not they are willing to sacrifice their athletic programs for principle. That decision is coming, and coming fast.

78 Comments (Open | Close)

78 Comments To "Sports: Red America’s Achilles Heel"

#1 Comment By Christopher Landrum On March 30, 2017 @ 4:36 pm

I think Seneca got it right when he equated the relationship between athletes and coaches to slavery:

There are the exercise, in the first place, the toil involved in which drains the vitality and renders it unfit for concentration or the more demanding sort of studies. Next there is the heavy feeding, which dulls mental acuteness. Then there is the taking on as coaches of the worst brand of slave, persons who divide their time between putting on lotion and putting down liquor, whose idea of a well spent day consists of getting up a good sweat and then replacing the fluid lost with plenty of drink, all the better to be absorbed on a dry stomach. Drinking and perspiring—it’s the life of a dyspeptic! There are short and simple exercises which will tire the body without undue delay and save what needs especially close accounting for, time.

–Letters from a Stoic (Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium) XV

#2 Comment By Wes On March 30, 2017 @ 4:47 pm

“james R. Olson says:
March 30, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Sacrifice sports for what principle? Discrimination is not a principle, it is a crime.”

The Politburo has arrived!

#3 Comment By Roger C. On March 30, 2017 @ 5:15 pm


Serious question, if a charitable organization came around and said they would donate food and medicine enough to feed and heal the downtrodden in your city indefinitely, but in exchange you’d have to make all of your church’s bathrooms gender-neutral, would you do accept their offer?


Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur. And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you throw yourself to the ground and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

— Matthew 4:8-10 (NET)

It would seem that the church has standing orders in that case.

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On March 30, 2017 @ 5:39 pm

Discrimination is not a principle, it is a crime

Shallow, ignorant, nonsense. Discrimination is an essential attribute of rational thought. INVIDIOUS discrimination is a crime, that is, the irrational practice of discriminating when there is no rational basis for discrimination. E.g., complexion has no impact on how people use restrooms, what people have on display in locker rooms, how well people stay above water without drowning, or for that matter, the basic mechanics of sex. But what sex your body is, that is the essence of a real difference. Thus, when we abolished separate restrooms for “white” and “colored,” allowing the staff applying advanced mathematics to bringing astronauts back alive to keep working instead of walking 45 minutes to the nearest bathroom for their color code, we did NOT abolish separate restrooms for men and women.

#5 Comment By jasper On March 30, 2017 @ 6:08 pm

And then there is the decision of the University of Louisiana at Monroe to divest itself of millions of biological specimens from its Natural History Museum to make room for the expansion of athletics facilities. Link:


The curators were given 48 hours notice of this decision.

Another sign of the decline of higher education in this country.


#6 Comment By Turmarion On March 30, 2017 @ 6:42 pm

VikingLS: Do you think that the intensity of our home state’s devotion to the NCAA might have something to do with the relative lack of pro-sports in the state?

I don’t know–I’d never thought of that. That might be a factor. I’ve often wondered if another factor is the poverty and relative lack of education in large parts of the state. Sports makes you part of something bigger than yourself, and if there isn’t much else in your life to be proud of, vicariously being a winner might be a big part of one’s emotional life. It would be interesting to do a demographic analysis of the most passionate sports fans (not just in Kentucky) and see what patterns there were. A hypothesis, at least.

#7 Comment By Dale McNamee On March 30, 2017 @ 8:10 pm

Sports is not an “Achilles heel” but an addiction as bad as the opioid one…

And as such can be beaten by not feeding it… The same goes for pro,and high school sports…

I’m very happy that I never developed an interest in them !

#8 Comment By Roger C. On March 30, 2017 @ 8:41 pm

Didn’t the whole idea of collegiate athletics come about with the idea that as the mind was trained, so should the body? Was that an American thing? Did it ever take off in Europe?

#9 Comment By MichaelGC On March 30, 2017 @ 8:55 pm

Anna Duarte says March 30, 2017 at 10:13 am:

Follow the money. North Carolina has lost billions (Yup billions)

Nope. [5]

and were projected to lose something to the tune of 12.6 billion this decade over the fallout from the bill.

Actually, it is $3.7 billion over the next 12 years, or $308.3 million a year. To put that in perspective, North Carolina’s GDP was $495 billion in 2015. So the impact on NC’s economy for one year is .06%; that is, if AP’s projection is not overstated, which it probably is.

Of course, one could argue that the macro picture does not reflect the economic pain that was inflicted on some people caught in the cross fire — people who had nothing whatsoever to do with the passage of HB2, people who were personally opposed to HB2, even people who were LGBT or LGBT allies. If anything, that just illustrates the abject stupidity of trying to punish a state with embargoes just so certain groups can signal their virtue.

#10 Comment By enjolra On March 30, 2017 @ 8:57 pm

@Roger C.

Thanks for your response. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question, but I’m worried that I might be reading too much into it. Are you conflating compromising your values in order to help people with abandoning your principals in order to attain worldly power? Did you mean to suggest that God places a higher premium on making sure people use the restroom that matches the gender listed on their birth certificate than on making sure people don’t die from preventable diseases?

#11 Comment By William Dalton On March 30, 2017 @ 9:54 pm

Hearing the discussion tonight among NC Republican party leaders, in and outside the General Assembly, I learned one important piece of information that moved Republicans to act as they did. The Party and GA’s legal counsel had advised them to expect the Fourth Circuit to declare HB2 unconstitutional in the case now under appeal and scheduled to be argued in May. Had the GA done nothing, they were almost certain to lose all of HB2, with nothing to backstop it. By passing today’s bill, including the repeal of HB2, the GA made the case before the hostile court moot, depriving it of the opportunity to render a decision. The bill which passed fulfills the same purpose intended by the passage of HB2 – a permanent bar to local governments seeking to redefine the law of public sex segregated facilities, and a bar at least through December of 2020 of any ordinances which would define LGBT categories or any other category not specified in state law as the basis of a claim of unlawful discrimination. This is what Republicans sought, and they got everything they sought. Democrats got the opportunity to save face for Gov. Cooper. It was the business community that pressed for passage of today’s bill. The NCAA, the ACC realize that it is they, not the State of North Carolina, which have suffered by moving their premiere tournaments outside our state. They lost money in Brooklyn, they lost money in Greenville SC. They want to come back. They didn’t want to have to wait for a court to strike down HB2 and litigation to continue. So they set their deadline to act now, before the case was to be heard and decided. Had Democrats held their ground and not agreed to the replacement bill they would have gotten rid of HB2 in total, but they also would have lost lucrative sports events for more years as well – and they would have suffered the blame.

#12 Comment By EngineerScotty On March 31, 2017 @ 2:27 am

In related news, a trustee at Penn State university is complaining that he is “running out of sympathy” for the boys raped by Jerry Sandusky. Apparently, he figures the damage awards some of ’em got adequate reparations or something.

Can’t let anything get in the way of Nittany Lions football, after all. [6]

#13 Comment By Roger C. On March 31, 2017 @ 10:47 am

Enjolra, the church has some priorities that are higher than feeding the hungry, and shouldn’t compromise those in order to accomplish a lower one.

#14 Comment By redbrick On March 31, 2017 @ 12:07 pm

“do you think Baylor (for example) would sacrifice its athletic programs or its Christian principles on LGBT matters?”

I went to Baylor.

Baylor’s country club GOP leaders will never fight the good fight very long on the LGBT front.

They already gave up and removed “homosexual acts” from our student handbook. Against the wishes of the alumni I might add.

#15 Comment By Kevin Smith On March 31, 2017 @ 12:15 pm

Rod, isn’t this part of what changed the Mormon’s minds on black people? I mean, of course, God’s mind. The Utah schools were going to get shut out of college play. Ring any bells?

#16 Comment By Ilya On March 31, 2017 @ 3:32 pm

I am not a resident of North Carolina, but on the surface, this is an act of cowardice, certain to only embolden the LGBT lobby and its cheerleaders. I wish the former Republican governor confronted this boycott in a direct and full-throated fashion, addressing North Carolinians and the rest of the nation: after years or passionate loyalty and generous tax breaks (I’m not only referring to the NCAA – I’m referring to the corporations that meekly went along with the boycott), this is how we are treated? And for what? Who will call the shots in this country? What is a representative Democracy? How dare they treat us like Iran and North Korea? We will not bend the knee, not now, not ever. We, too, have a few levers to pull if we choose to. Do not mess with our state! A governor speaking up along these lines would make me proud, and would surely have my support.

#17 Comment By JWJ On March 31, 2017 @ 5:13 pm

As a NC resident, I have had a front row seat to all this. A few observations.

It can not be emphasized enough that this whole hullabaloo started when the extreme leftists on the city govt of Charlotte passed a law that any PERSON could use any bathroom and/or locker-room they wanted to. Private business would have been FORCED to comply. Now some people will disingenuously state that ONLY those who “present” as female would use the women’s multi-occupancy communal bathroom or locker-room.
This is FALSE. This is a LIE.

There is no trans-identity card. Therefore any PERSON who simply claimed to be female (that day, that hour, that minute) could use the women’s multi-occupancy communal bathroom. And if a “regular” (for lack of a better descriptive word) biological female was bothered by a male being in the bathroom with her, then that was HER problem.

HB2 reversed this dictatorial move by Charlotte. The law also stated that private entities could institute whatever bathroom policy they choose to. So more freedom that what Charlotte did.

Moving on to sports. Leftists will continue to add politics to sports, cause that is the dogma of their religion, and they are strong adherents.

The head of Disney would rather continue to have ESPN revenue’s decrease than decrease the leftism on the sports channel. That is how strong a leftist religious believer the head of Disney is.

There is no doubt that males will come to dominate women’s sports. Currently the male has to take drugs for a year to play against females. Clearly this is discriminatory and someone will end up suing and winning.

Slowly the floodgates are starting to open. We now have males competing in women’s volleyball, weightlifting, MMA, bike racing, track in field in Alaska. Every month there will be a new story.

There is still a stigma for a male to say he is a female to participate in a women’s sports. But then someone is going to make some money at it. I predict a solo sport such as tennis

The male ranked #200 tennis player might be making $100K to $200K per year. A Top 5 female players earn around $3M to $5M in tournament winnings. The number #200 ranked male can handily beat the best females.

My suggestion is to try and actively force the left adhere to their “principles”. Why should a male have to take drugs for a year to compete against women in the NCAA? Sue them.
Demand that the NBA have every arena make all communal restrooms “gender” neutral. If the NBA doesn’t, then accuse them of hatred. Sue them. Instead of holding the door against the regressive beliefs, I say hold the door open and let them fall on their face.

#18 Comment By Mia On March 31, 2017 @ 7:14 pm

“Another sign of the decline of higher education in this country.”

Yeah, it’s pretty alarming that the museum would dump its collection to benefit the football program, but it’s not the only sign of school decline. I went to my alma mater’s library yesterday to do some on the fly research, and they seem to be removing more and more of the shelves full of books. It looks like the top floor has been emptied of half of the floor’s worth, so I’m thinking it will go the way of the bottom two floors where the entire reference library and second floor holdings, including journals and other really interesting books, have all gone into storage.

Why, you may ask, is a library divesting itself of books? To turn them into huge empty rooms full of tables for students to gather and study. The thing that alarmed me when I first heard of this plan a few years back was that I had heard around the grapevine that sometimes books with inconvenient facts that support the wrong political side have over the decades been pulled from library shelves. If it’s in storage, you have to ask for it, so it’s very hard to peruse things anonymously, and let’s just say I have my reasons for thinking that is a potentially huge problem. But then, too, you have to know the book exists to even request it, and how can you guarantee that the “wrong” books are going to show up in the electronic catalogue? But even without politics thrown in, I’ve always made my best discoveries just wandering down the aisles of books looking at the spines until I found what I needed but didn’t know to look for. It’s a sad day, and I think it’s a widespread change.

#19 Comment By enjolra On March 31, 2017 @ 10:27 pm

@Roger C.

I just want to say thank you for being patient with my questions and let it go at that; I don’t want to press my luck.

#20 Comment By Thrice A Viking On April 1, 2017 @ 7:59 pm

JWJ, your post at 5:13 PM on 3/31/17 was very interesting to me. I wasn’t aware that the Charlotte bill was so extreme. However, I would insist that the North Carolina bill was fatally flawed as well, by its insistence on one’s birth gender, disregarding changes that had been made.

In your last paragraph about the NBA, you meant the “WNBA”, didn’t you? Women competing in a men’s athletic league don’t have an unfair advantage. It’s the reverse that is problematic.

#21 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 1, 2017 @ 11:06 pm

It can not be emphasized enough that this whole hullabaloo started when the extreme leftists on the city govt of Charlotte passed a law that any PERSON could use any bathroom and/or locker-room they wanted to. Private business would have been FORCED to comply. Now some people will disingenuously state that ONLY those who “present” as female would use the women’s multi-occupancy communal bathroom or locker-room.
This is FALSE. This is a LIE.

There is no trans-identity card. Therefore any PERSON who simply claimed to be female (that day, that hour, that minute) could use the women’s multi-occupancy communal bathroom. And if a “regular” (for lack of a better descriptive word) biological female was bothered by a male being in the bathroom with her, then that was HER problem.

I don’t live in North Carolina, but I think that is fundamentally sound. It does get lost in the sauce. And heaven help us if we can only get free of such misguided nonsense by electing anti-labor Republicans who want to bring on a scenario reminiscent of Jack London’s The Iron Heel.

Rod, isn’t this part of what changed the Mormon’s minds on black people? I mean, of course, God’s mind. The Utah schools were going to get shut out of college play. Ring any bells?

I remember the news headlines when the president of the council of twelve came down from the highest tower of the tabernacle to announce he had had a vision from God admitting persons of African descent to the Mormon priesthood. I was alive, a legal adult, of sound mind and body at the time. And I don’t recall college play being an issue.

I do remember coverage of people in Africa who had gotten hold of Mormon missionary literature and wanted to join, which was becoming embarrassing. I do remember that Mormon missionaries were generally going further afield into the world, and it was becoming difficult for them. I had a sense that the church realized that barring black men from the priesthood was not really fundamental to their understanding of the universe, and it was becoming an obstacle to spreading the Good News of the revelation delivered to Joseph Smith on some gold plates in upstate New York.

The irony is that one of the reasons for anti-Mormon prejudice in the first place was that they were, among other things, abolitionist in doctrine. I suspect Brigham Young rearranged a few things from what Smith originally intended, even as he made a fairly loose communal effort into a tightly centralized authoritarian command structure.

#22 Comment By Dan On April 2, 2017 @ 9:27 am

Any Christian principles your team professed to have were vacated when they voted for a man that thought is was ok to barge into the Teen Miss USA dressing room. HB2 was specifically written to prevent predators from done just that. It’s funny how you pick and choose your battles.

#23 Comment By JWJ On April 2, 2017 @ 2:34 pm

Thrice Viking:
I was writing about NBA arenas, the playing venues. If the NBA leadership is in favor of anybody using any multi-occupancy restroom (they must be because they were opposed to HB2), then they should demand that all NBA arenas have the communal restrooms be “gender” neutral.

Apologies if my writing was not clear.

#24 Comment By PeterK On April 2, 2017 @ 6:45 pm

Siarlys Jenkins wrote “allowing the staff applying advanced mathematics to bringing astronauts back alive to keep working instead of walking 45 minutes to the nearest bathroom for their color code,”

good so you watched the movie Hidden Figures. you must not be aware that the scene about the nearest bathroom being 45 minutes away was fictious. I suggest that you purchase a copy of the book and you’ll be amazed at how the movie skewed the facts.

#25 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 3, 2017 @ 12:04 am

PeterK, as H.L. Mencken used to write to his critics, “Dear Sir, You may be right. Sincerely,”

For purposes of this discussion, the empiric hardly matters. Remove the challenged empiric, and what remains is “Thus, when we abolished separate restrooms for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ … we did NOT abolish separate restrooms for men and women.”

You disagree? Or do you assert that segregating restrooms by color was a good thing? Or that if we do not segregate by color, then we must not segregate by sex either? What IS your point?

(And I will look up the book. I speculate that the distinctions are more subtle and less dispositive than you imply, but I’ll know when I’ve read it. I have read confirmation that John Glenn really did say to have the lady do the numbers and he would be content to fly.)

#26 Comment By Thrice A Viking On April 3, 2017 @ 4:20 am

OK, thanks for the clarification, JWJ. The trouble is, the NBA might agree to something like that. But would female fans object, and enough of them decide not to come until the policy was changed back? For that matter, would women claiming to be men discomfit the male fans, particularly at urinals? It’d be interesting to see!

Since I brought up the WNBA – however mistakenly with respect to your post – I’m just curious about something. Do you think that, if enough male-to-female transsexuals appear and try out for women’s sports, such a fact could trigger a strong counter-revolution in thinking? I’m inclined to think so, and would enjoy hearing from you and others on the subject.

#27 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 5, 2017 @ 2:42 pm

I wonder if NASCAR will move events around like this anytime soon?

#28 Comment By JWJ On April 6, 2017 @ 5:19 pm

To Thrice A Viking:
Apologies for the delay responding, so don’t know if you will ever read this.
Obviously my response is simply my biased opinion.

I believe that if the NBA made all multi-occupancy bathrooms open to everybody like the NBA (and the NCAA) wanted bathrooms in NC to be, then yes, I believe female (and male) fans would not like that and live attendance would drop significantly.

However, there is only one real data point (that I know about) where a consumer facing organization opened up their multi-occupancy bathrooms to anybody, and that was Target. Target’s market capitalization has dropped about $15B since they made that announcement. It would be very interesting to have more data points such as NBA and NCAA arenas.

To me it is inevitable that men will dominate women’s sports, especially where the gain is the most. Already mentioned tennis.

Somewhere there is a male 100M track runner who is in somewhere between the 1000th and 5000th fastest in the world and is going to realize that if he says he is a woman, he can be the fastest woman in the world by about half a second. In every individual sport it is the same thing (except maybe figure skating and gymnastics).

Now my biased opinion is that the vast majority of folks are not going to be happy about this. And then once those floodgates open up, men dominating women’s college sports and then high school sports will happen.