Scott Fowler

Scott Fowler: Shame on all of us for refusing to compromise on HB2

In June, NBA commissioner Adam Silver warned that Charlotte was running out of time.
In June, NBA commissioner Adam Silver warned that Charlotte was running out of time. AP

Shame on us.

The NBA gave us one chance after another to keep its 2017 All-Star weekend, and time after time we failed.

In a world with so many real problems, we in North Carolina managed to fabricate a controversy out of bathroom walls and thin air. I don’t care what side you’re on – you just lost.

The NBA announced Thursday it was moving its 2017 All-Star Game and all the surrounding festivities out of Charlotte, with the hope of giving it back to us in 2019.

For now, that means Steph Curry won’t be coming home, LeBron James won’t be hammering dunks and – most significantly to our city – an event that could have generated as much as $100 million in economic impact just flew out the window. We hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and this would have been the biggest event we’ve seen since then.

Yes, we still might get an All-Star weekend back in 2019. The NBA obviously wants to give us one – but only if our political leaders can get it together by then. After the way that has gone for the past few months, I won’t be holding my breath.

“While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2,” a portion of the NBA’s statement said.

I won’t retrace all the steps this depressing saga has taken, but I would agree with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s recent comment that House Bill 2 is an “embarrassing” bill. The way HB2 limits protection for LGBT individuals is a stain on our state. It makes us seem intolerant and foolish.

OK, so now you know which side I’m on. But you know what? No matter what side you’re on, we all come out of this mess with some mud on us.

Both sides simply entrenched themselves deep inside their own foxholes. You would think they were trying to negotiate the end of a world war with how impossible so many people made it seem to forge a reasonable compromise. Of course a compromise could have happened.

You can have a backbone and still be able to bend.

Too many people forgot that. Now the All-Star Game that once was slated for Charlotte in February 2017 is gone. Maybe we get one back in 2019, and maybe we don’t.

We’ve been headed down this road for a long time, but I still am having a hard time imagining we actually arrived here. The NBA has said since March that the All-Star Game wasn’t coming to North Carolina if lawmakers didn’t figure something out.

They didn’t, and so here we are.

The Charlotte Hornets desperately wanted to help broker a compromise, but ultimately they didn’t get one. Now they get punished for others’ misdeeds, which makes no sense just like the rest of this thing.

Said Hornets owner Michael Jordan in a team statement: “There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so. With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star Weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019.”

The Hornets have to feel today a little like they did in 2012, when the franchise had the largest chance of winning the draft lottery. Instead, Charlotte ended up losing that lottery and not getting a chance to pick Anthony Davis.

Now Davis plays for New Orleans. The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the NBA’s decision Thursday, and he also reported New Orleans is the likeliest choice to be the replacement host. New Orleans also got the original Hornets franchise, of course, when George Shinn moved the team down to the Big Easy after an arena dispute.

So New Orleans is going to get us again. Great. No matter how many times the Carolina Panthers beat Drew Brees, this one will sting a while.

And in the meantime, I hope none of the politicians who engineered this are chortling about the outcome. Because no matter which side they are on, they should be ashamed.

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