Maine to protest North Carolina's HB2 law with rainbow warmups vs. Duke

Maine's men's basketball team will wear t-shirts protesting North Carolina's HB2 law before their road game against Duke.
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Maine's men's basketball team will wear t-shirts protesting North Carolina's House Bill 2 law before a road game at fourth-ranked Duke on Saturday.

House Bill 2 is a law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The law requires people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate.

The team plans to wear black and rainbow-themed warm-up shirts in coordination with You Can Play and support of the America East Conference.

"It's one thing to boycott or not show up because of the financial impact and the message that would send," Chris Mosier, You Can Play's vice president of program development and community relations said to USA Today. "But they wanted to be visible and the biggest thing is they want to take the next step. It's not just wearing a pin or a patch or a shirt. They want to be better allies. And they would have done this whether it was Duke or any North Carolina institution because (HB2) doesn't align with their values."

The law has caused several organizations to move events out of the state.

Albany men's basketball team canceled its Nov. 12 matchup with Duke, Vermont women's basketball team canceled a December road game against North Carolina and the NCAA is relocating sites for seven of the championship events that were scheduled to be held in North Carolina.

The NBA has already decided to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, N.C because of the law. The game will now take place in New Orleans on Feb. 17.

"Had we not had the groundwork from 2012, I don't think Maine would be taking such an assertive effort for the Duke game," America East commissioner Amy Huchthausen said. "We haven't issued an official statement on HB2, but our actions have spoken pretty loud and clear of where we stand. When people turn on the TV on Saturday, the message can speak for itself."

– Scooby Axson