And just like that, the NCAA went and signed Pat McCrory's political death warrant.
The governor—down seven and running behind Donald Trump in his home state, even with a budget surplus and a decent economy—has been desperately trying to frame HB 2, the anchor affixed to his ankle, as a common-sense measure blown all out of proportion by liberal politicians and out-of-state media elites. He put out a craven television ad insinuating that, without HB 2, little girls will be molested in bathrooms. He blamed opponent (and luckiest man alive) Roy Cooper for all the businesses and sporting events and musicians pulling out of the state, and then blamed the businesses and sporting events and musicians themselves.
In short, he pointed his finger everywhere but where he should have pointed it: at himself.
On Monday night, as you're no doubt aware, the NCAA announced that it was pulling the first and second rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament from Greensboro, as well as six other playoff events from North Carolina, four of which were to be held in Cary. The economic losses will be in the millions. The damage to the state's reputation will be immeasurable.
"This is not unexpected, and it's very frustrating, because we could have fixed this when we were in session," says state Representative Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford. "So I'm pretty frustrated and kind of angry that the leadership didn't pursue a repeal, because we're paying an economic detriment for this state-sanctioned discrimination."
In a statement posted on Twitter, the NCAA put the lie to McCrory's oft-stated contention that North Carolina's anti-LGBTQ law is no worse than anyone else's anti-LGBTQ law: "The Board of Governors views North Carolina differently from states that have similar laws for three reasons: North Carolina laws invalidate any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class .... North Carolina has the only statewide law that makes it unlawful to use a restroom different than the gender on one's birth certificate, regardless of gender identity. [And] North Carolina provides legal protections to government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community."
Moreover, the NCAA pointed out, five states ban official travel to North Carolina—which could include coaches and student-athletes. The message was clear: as long as HB 2 exists, the NCAA will take its business elsewhere.
Cooper piled on, though he probably didn't have to: "Hosting NCAA championship events has long been a point of pride for North Carolina," a spokesman said in a statement. "These tournaments pump money into our economy and give our communities and fans a chance to showcase our incredible tradition of college sports. Now, our ability to host these events at the highest level has been eliminated because of Governor McCrory and HB 2. Enough."
Duke University joined in: "We agree with the NCAA's decision. Our position has been clear on this matter, which is that this legislation is discriminatory, troubling and embarrassing."
The state Republican Party, in predictably mature fashion, lashed out at the NCAA: "I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men's and women's teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams," said spokeswoman Kami Mueller. "Under the NCAA's logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and locker rooms."
In fairness to Mueller, two hours earlier she'd tweeted out a picture of a glass of bourbon, on the rocks, with the message: "Monday nights are for @WoodfordReserve, work, and reading about our first liberty."
Wonder how many Woodfords she put down before banging that out. Then again, considering who she works for, can you blame her?
Anyway, we're officially calling it: McCrory's toast.