This article is sourced from The Nation.
Sports is not something that I normally comment on (it does however provides an interesting entity for one to observe from the outside), I felt a need to comment on this article. Being that the change proposed by the author (and others) seems, silly.
Recently Indiana passed the Religious Freedom eEstoration Act (or RFRA), which essentially gives businesses the right to not serve certain clientèle based on their sexual orientation, and possibly other traits. More of THIS shit.
Yes, it is a joke of a law to be labeled as a tool of religious freedom. And its also hilarious in that not all of the LGBTQ+, secular, or other feared communities are easy to spot. But none the less, its now the law of the land in Indiana.
And this does bother me. But at the same time, I have to keep in mind that a this systemic problem of homophobia, secular phobia and possibly racism will not be as easy to do away with then just, utilizing a typical boycott strategy. Which is where I find myself in disagreement with many progressives.
This article, along with many others as well as various online chatter (such as petitions) is calling for the NCAA to move the final four out of Indianapolis, possibly just 100 miles down the road to Cincinnati, Ohio. Others would like the organization to go one further, and uproot its whole headquarters (also based in Indianapolis) to Cincinnati, or elsewhere.
The NCAA had this comment on the matter:
“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events,” the statement read. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”
Though its a generalized statement that stated the obvious, it was required because of the context of the situation. It was praised by many sports writers, being that it showed that the NCAA was on the right side of the fence.
However, others (mainly progressives) feel that the statement is not enough. They feel that since the final four brings a boost to the economy of its hosting city, it is making a bold statement to the home states legislatures to pull that event and bring it elsewhere.
I will borrow another paragraph from the article:
In other words, Charles Barkley,who has been wrong about so much in recent months, is absolutely dead-on when he said,
“Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me. As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities.”
I guess that I can agree that such can be taken into account, in the planning stages of an event. No one is in expectation of economic gains for events that do not yet exist.
However, I fear that the many that would like the final 4 pulled and played elsewhere, are overlooking the harm that they are causing. The author of the linked piece briefly goes into the implications, but quickly rationalizes the action.
The economic cost to Indiana would be severe; hurting the hotel services industry as well as hundreds of low-wage workers. That’s deeply regrettable, but it also wouldn’t be the fault of the NCAA
Yes, taking away that expected economic uplift in tax revenue does indeed hurt the state government (the intended goal). And it will target the businesses and individuals that are in favor of such legislation as RFRA.
But it also targets all that just happen to reside in a state that is controlled by backwards lunatics. Not to mention the low level wage earners that potentially lose out on mere ends meat.
As well, I am leery of using economic gain as a tool of extortion to get ones way. In this case, I can not deny that the goal of non-discrimination is a good goal. But at the same time, you also create bad blood.
First, on account to businesses and fans in the local area who are directly financially affected by the change. And, if those pushing the offending legislation have a persecution complex (HIGHLY likely), you play right into it.
So if I were the NCAA, I would just leave things as they are. Should the law be taken into consideration when it comes to future planned events? Maybe.
However, I think it is more important to lead by example.