Marist Replaces Team That Won't Play in North Carolina

August 22, 2016

The State University of New York at Albany dropped a November basketball game at Duke University because New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has barred nonessential travel by state agencies to North Carolina. The ban is a protest of North Carolina's law that blocks antibias rules from protecting gay people and also bars state agencies from letting transgender people use bathrooms that reflect their identities. Marist College, also in New York state but as a private institution not covered by Cuomo's ban, announced that it will take Albany's place.

Many on social media have questioned Marist's decision. In an open letter to the college's president, Joseph Amodeo, an alumnus wrote that "Marist appears to have gleefully accepted the offer to play even with full knowledge of the fact they would be going against Albany’s principled decision for declining the match …. Marist’s decision to demonstrate a complete disregard for the governor’s order, Albany’s reasoning for withdrawing and the well-being of Marist’s LGBTQ students, athletes and alumni is deeply concerning. Further, the college’s participation in this match threatens to convey a message that Marist is willing to simply accept North Carolina’s legalized discrimination solely for the purpose of playing a basketball game."

Marist issued a statement saying that it too opposes the North Carolina law, HB2, and that replacing Albany does not represent support for the law. "Reasonable people can disagree about whether a college should ever participate in a boycott of a state (or country) that passes laws or engages in behavior that we find abhorrent," the statement says. "It is worth noting that hundreds, if not thousands, of colleges still plan to send sports teams, musical groups, admissions recruiters, etc. to North Carolina (and other states that have laws which discriminate against the LGBT community). In addition, while the National Basketball Association moved its all-star game from North Carolina, it did not cancel the Charlotte Hornets' season."

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