There are headscratchers and then there is CBS sports journo Matt Norlander’s wildly-off-the-mark piece on the Duke Blue Devils’ (2) surprising loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks (7) Sunday night in the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.
Being a Duke fan in a state that is largely Tar Heel country can be a lonely place sometimes, but you don’t have to like Duke at all to want to set the record straight when certain sports dudes try to tie the Blue Devils’ tournament loss to North Carolina’s infamous HB2 “bathroom bill.”
Norlander wrote that we needed to have a “realistic discussion” about why Duke lost to the Gamecocks, but there were a few assertions in his piece that didn’t match up with reality:
The reason for the unprecedented quasi-home court for a lower-seeded team in a second round game was born from an unprecedented decision. This game was held in Greenville, South Carolina, only because of a man named Pat McCrory. He’s the now-voted-out governor from North Carolina who put into law a bill that the NCAA protested by means of moving the 2017 tourney out of Greensboro, North Carolina.
House Bill 2, which is viewed as discriminatory in the eyes of millions, doesn’t allow for people who identify as a certain sex to use the bathroom of their choosing.
Except that’s not true. HB2 gives private businesses the latitude to set their own policies when it comes to bathroom, fitting room, locker room, and shower access. It does NOT ban businesses in any way from having unisex facilities instead of those that are “gender-segregated.” It does say that similar facilities in government buildings and offices should be separate based on sex, but even then allows special exceptions in the form of single-person facilities (think single-stall restrooms).
Norlander, who unsurprisingly supports transgender “women” being able to compete against women born women – and the same with transgender “men”, wrote:
You can easily make the argument that Duke would have lost against South Carolina no matter where those teams played that game on Sunday night.
Still, the game’s location and the reasons for the tournament being played at said location must be addressed.
Duke didn’t lose because of where it played, but the NCAA’s moving the tourney out of North Carolina unquestionably had some impact on what happened Sunday night.
Not so fast, said diehard Carolina fan Brent Woodcox, who noted home teams in the NCAA tournament don’t always have it so easy, either – HB2-style bill or not:
— Brent Woodcox (@BrentWoodcox) March 20, 2017
Also, remember this: In just about any tournament game you watch involving Duke, if they’re not playing in the state of North Carolina they’re the de facto “away” team and most of the crowd is enthusiastically cheering for the other team whether they have ties to it or not. Duke hate is pretty strong nationally.
The NCAA’s yanking tournament games from North Carolina over HB2, a favorite whipping boy of ‘socially conscious’ sports columnists, had nothing to do with Duke’s loss. The Gamecocks just outplayed them in the second half.
This isn’t rocket science – nor should it be about politics, either, y’all.