Franklin Graham sent a letter of protest to Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Commissioner John D. Swofford after the organization’s council of presidents voted to move sports championships out of North Carolina in reaction to House Bill 2 (HB 2). The sharp rebuke was also sent to presidents of the ACC’s 15 member schools.
Franklin Graham said in a letter he was saddened by the “profound hypocrisy” of the ACC, NCAA and other organizations “who are making calculated business decisions disguised as moral outrage.”
Graham said he was saddened and outraged by the “profound hypocrisy” of the ACC, along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and other organizations, “who are making calculated business decisions disguised as moral outrage.”
HB 2 requires state buildings and public schools to designate bathrooms and changing facilities for use according to the biological sex indicated on a person’s birth certificate. Legislators passed the controversial bill earlier this year in response to a Charlotte ordinance that opened all restrooms to people based on the gender identity of their choice.
Graham noted that ACC member schools compete in 25 sports divided by gender. “Yet, when a state like the one I live in,” he said, “seeks to make the same distinction with regard to use of public bathrooms in an effort to protect its citizens …, the academic elites who comprise your conference fake a moral outrage that is frankly shameful.”
He also pointed out that the ACC’s championship football game carries Dr. Pepper as its title sponsor, a company that “proudly sells their products in countries where homosexuality is illegal.” Graham asked, “Can your conference continue to tolerate that?”
On a personal note, the native North Carolinian wrote, “I am a big sports fan. My only daughter married a college football star that went on to play in the NFL. But I would rather defend the biological definition of the two genders as created by the Creator of the universe than to attend – or even watch on TV – a football or basketball game to determine the ACC champion …
“Please don’t make political pawns of student-athletes who just want to play football or basketball in North Carolina, 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.”
Graham also said in a Facebook post the same day, “Governor Pat McCrory, Lt. Governor Dan Forest, and N.C. state legislators are coming under extreme pressure about [HB 2] … Our state is being bullied by the NCAA, the ACC and some of corporate America who are influenced by LGBT activists.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Franklin Graham serves as president and CEO of nonprofit aid organization Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He is also the son of Billy Graham, a well-known Southern Baptist evangelist.)