The Atlantic Coast Conference became the latest sports organization to announce it is severing some ties with North Carolina over the state’s law mandating individuals use sex-specific facilities coordinating with their respective birth gender.
While the legislation is unquestionably controversial, many Americans both in North Carolina and beyond are upset by the decision of several high-profile groups and individuals to write off the entire state. One such critic is evangelist Franklin Graham, who recently wrote a letter to ACC Commissioner John D. Swofford in which he explained his displeasure with the move to relocate several prominent championship games.
Graham wrote that he was “saddened” and “outraged” by conference leaders who voted to boycott the state, going on to cite examples he believes demonstrates their hypocrisy on the issue.
“For example,” he wrote, “the football championship game your conference voted to move from Charlotte in December is called the ‘Dr. Pepper ACC Football Championship.’ Dr. Pepper and its parent company, Cadbury Schweppes and Carlyle Group, proudly sell their products in countries where homosexuality is illegal.”
He then asked whether the ACC has any plans to drop this and other sponsors doing business in intolerant corners of the world.
Furthermore, Graham pointed out what he sees as a double standard within the ACC itself — along with other athletic organizations.
“Indeed, the ACC’s member schools compete in 25 sports divided by gender,” he wrote, “– 12 men’s sports and 13 women’s. Though gender issues may be becoming more complicated in higher education and other parts of society, the athletic conference you serve as commissioner doesn’t seem to have any problem distinguishing between the two genders — male and female.”
The pointed letter concluded with the Christian leader’s plea to Swofford.
“Please don’t make political pawns of student-athletes who just want to play football or basketball in North Carolina,” he wrote, “and don’t continue to offend millions of Americans who endorse thousands of years of gender-specific bathrooms while you continue to accept corporate sponsorship money from companies proudly conducting their business in countries that discriminate against homosexuals to the point of death.”