College Basketball

Mike Krzyzewski calls HB2 an ‘embarrassing bill’

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski AP

Days after learning that North Carolina’s controversial LGBT law is leaving a hole in his team’s schedule this season, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski shared his thoughts on House Bill 2 with the media.

“It’s an embarrassing bill. That’s all I’m going to say about it,” Krzyzewski told USA Today Sports Wednesday in Las Vegas. Krzyzewski has been head coach of the U.S. men’s national team since 2006, and he’s in Vegas preparing them for the games that begin Aug. 5 in Rio.

Krzyzewski’s comments come one week after Duke released its men’s basketball schedule and learned that Albany, part of the State University of New York system, will not be playing in Durham Nov. 12 thanks to HB2.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with governors in four other states, issued executive orders banning publicly funded, non-essential travel to North Carolina because they oppose HB2.

N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried similarly told USA Today Sports that he was “appalled” by HB2 and is “embarrassed” when parents ask him about it when he’s on recruiting trips.

The law sets a statewide definition of nondiscrimination that excludes sexual identity and gender orientation. It also prevents cities and counties from imposing LGBT protections broader than state law. HB2 also requires transgender people in government facilities to use bathrooms matching the gender on their birth certificates rather than the gender they identify with.

In May, the U.S. Justice Department asked N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory to denounce HB2. McCrory and state legislators instead filed a lawsuit against the federal government, and government then countersued.

In response to Krzyzewski’s comment Wednesday, Josh Ellis, McCrory’s director of communications, said the administration is “embarrassed the Obama administration is forcing a mandate that requires one gender to share locker room and shower facilities with the opposite gender in our middle school, high schools and universities.”

In late March, NCAA president Mark Emmert made it clear that House Bill 2 puts North Carolina at risk of hosting future NCAA events, most notably the basketball tournament, which the state has hosted 17 times in the past two decades and will again in 2017 and 2018. In April, the league adopted an anti-discrimination process for sites bidding on events.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver similarly has said the league could move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte if state legislators do not make changes to HB2.

Last October, Krzyzewski said he will retire from his post with the Olympics after the Rio de Janeiro games. USA Today contributed.

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