Keith Olbermann rips the NCAA for not standing up to Indiana’s ‘insidious’ anti-LGBT law
ESPN host Keith Olbermann began his show on Monday by reiterating his demand that pro and college sports immediately begin distancing themselves from Indiana following the passage of an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill.
Senate Bill 101, Olbermann said, was “presented to this nation in the insidious guise expressed in its title, the ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act.’ Which is not about freedom, but the loss of freedom. Which is not about religion, but about discrimination cloaked in religion. Which is not about the restoration of anything, except the hatred and prejudice of 50 or 100 years ago.”
Last week, Olbermann argued online that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) withdraw its national mens’ basketball semifinals from Indianapolis.
On Monday, he called on the NCAA to move its entire headquarters out of the city, while criticizing it for releasing a “boilerplate” statement in response to public criticism of the law.
“The Nation in the National Collegiate Athletic Association is this nation — our nation,” he said. “And there are times when organizations like the NCAA and NFL and NBA must remember that word, and think not of its teams but of its nation.”
When Arizona legislators passed a similar — though less-expansive — bill last year, Olbermann said, the National Football League quickly moved to consider pulling the Super Bowl out of the state. The bill was ultimately vetoed by then-Gov. Jan Brewer (R).
He also criticized fans and sports consumers who tried to ignore the story by saying it was about “politics” and not sports.
“What was Jackie Robinson’s story, if not politics?” Olbermann asked. “Do you celebrate Jackie Robinson? Do you celebrate Texas-El Paso 1966? Or the AFL moving the 1965 All-Star Game? Or the pressure the sports leagues of 50 and 60 years ago brought to bear against prejudice in the Southwest and then the South? What were those stories, if not politics?”
Olbermann’s commentary, as aired on Monday, can be seen below.