Former N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory calls the NBA hypocritical in how it's dealing with the demonstrations in Hong Kong vs. how it treated Charlotte and the state in 2016 during the controversy over HB2.
The NBA chose to move the 2017 All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte in response to a law the league and many others viewed as discriminatory to the LGBTQ community. After the state rescinded House Bill 2 in March 2017, the NBA awarded the 2019 All-Star Weekend to Charlotte.
The NBA is now dealing with retaliation from China over a Friday tweet by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The Rockets distanced the franchise from Morey's opinion. But that didn't stop Chinese officials from enacting sanctions such as discontinuing NBA merchandise sales and canceling game telecasts.
The NBA has twice issued statements looking to strike a balance between apologizing for what was perceived as an insult by Chinese officials and businesses, while defending free expression.
McCrory told the Observer on Tuesday the NBA sought no such middle ground over HB2, which he and other Republicans saw as a sensible law to protect safety in bathrooms and other public facilities.
"I see hypocrisy," said McCrory, who was Charlotte's mayor from 1995 to 2009. "They wanted to involve themselves with North Carolina commerce and an election, while not setting the same standard for China.
"I called them out then (when the All-Star Game was moved), and it's still true now."
The NBA did not provide a comment Tuesday afternoon regarding McCrory's remarks. When it moved the 2017 event, the NBA issued a statement saying that while it can't choose laws for the cities where it does business, it couldn't successfully host the All-Star festivities in the "climate created by HB2."
The law, also known as the "bathroom bill," brought national condemnation to North Carolina. HB2 negated a Charlotte ordinance that would have required businesses such as restaurants and bars to allow access to their bathrooms based on individuals' gender identity and would have nullified or blocked other local ordinances expanding LGBTQ protections.
Entertainers and other groups canceled conventions, concerts and moved athletic events out of the state, including the ACC Football Championship held in Charlotte. Several companies announced they were delaying or dropping plans for expansions or relocations to North Carolina.