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Don’t applaud the NCAA for doing the right thing

Photograph by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire

The NCAA lived up to its threat of removing tournament games from North Carolina if the state didn’t rid itself of HB2 (for context). Many members of the college basketball community have, in turn, applauded the governing body of college sports for doing that.

One doesn’t have to agree with how other people are living their lives, but at the same time can acknowledge the oppression North Carolina’s supposed “bathroom law” causes — not when our oversimplified phrasing of the law minimizes what it is actually doing, which is violating human rights.

A human person has rights, regardless of how any singular person worships, lives, thinks, or believes; regardless of the color of their skin, sexual preference, or the countless other variables that makes each of us unique as a person. Those human rights should not — or, in theory, are not — subject to change based on how one might differ from another’s way of thinking.

Your freedoms are the same as theirs, as well as mine, and we should all be free to practice them how we see fit, as long as we doesn’t violate, oppress, or disregard someone else’s right to be human. That seems simple in theory, though we’ve had an awfully hard time doing that in practice.

Look to the left of you, to the right, behind, and in front. Regardless of what person you see — no matter the gender or color of skin, even if the same — that person is inherently different. It is one of the joys of being an active member of a creative, emotional, and evolving species. We are unique.

What the NCAA did by pulling its Big Dance games out of the state, while the right move, isn’t worth the applause because of the reasons stated above. It is merely going about its daily life the way we all should.

Normally, we don’t give standing ovations for doing the obvious right thing. Held the door for a senior citizen who is having a hard time walking? That’s not noble. That’s just being humane. Saw a child lost in the mall, then helped that child find his or her parents? That’s looking out for another person(s). Witness something horrific, and attempt to stop it by way of (sane) action? That’s doing the right thing.

None of those things need an applause or a thank you. Those actions, or sometimes non-actions, should be expected to the point of being understood.

Any other reaction from fans or media — because the NCAA did what it said it was going to do, which was to not allow a state that oppresses a group of its people to benefit from the governing body’s money-maker — is not only unwarranted, but completely foolish.

This isn’t a “shift” in how the NCAA deals with societal issues.

Revoking North Carolina’s privilege (not a right) of holding tournament games wasn’t a hard stand to make. There were many, many other pioneers in shunning the state well before the NCAA made its move. In fact, the harder stand would have been to stay.

The supposed shift would be if the NCAA did something righteous, even if it knew the backlash to the move would be met with scorn. Generally speaking, that’s how true leadership works — an unpopular stance is made, met with a scarily crushing noise from those who disprove, and it isn’t until years later we realize the impact that move made (or, in bad times, didn’t).

NCAA President Mark Emmert (Photo by Larry Radloff/ICON Sportswire)

NCAA President Mark Emmert (Photo by Larry Radloff/ICON Sportswire)

For what it is worth, this isn’t a knock on the NCAA. It did what it said it was going to do. That’s it. That’s all it should have done.

We don’t need a mostly inept organization to regularly dip its toes in waters of societal issues it is far too ill-equipped to handle — especially when, by design, that same NCAA is currently violating the human rights of the student-athletes it supposedly governs.

This is more to highlight how absurd we can be. We can think that the “right move” needs to be met with applause — that we have apparently regressed so far in the realms of empathy, sympathy, and tolerance — to the point that an obvious move such as not supporting oppression needs to be celebrated.

The NCAA is a lot of bad things. To its credit, there has been some — even if only small — attempt to evolve with the times. It also does some good things. What it never does, however, is something that shifts a conversation, alters society as a whole, or helps to push a disgusting agenda to the wayside.

Instead, the governing body’s stand was a hypocritical one. Sure, the NCAA got it right, but its stand against oppression while oppressing those it is supposed to oversee is like an Abbott and Costello skit on acid.

A standing ovation for the NCAA?

Sit back down.

Don’t applaud the NCAA for doing the right thing

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