ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day
77°
Cloudy
H 87° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    77°
    Current Conditions
    Cloudy. H 87° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    76°
    Morning
    Cloudy. H 87° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    82°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 84° L 76°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Jacksonville expects to be competitive for NCAA/ACC championships, despite own history debating LGBT rights
Close

Jacksonville expects to be competitive for NCAA/ACC championships, despite own history debating LGBT rights

Jacksonville expects to be competitive for NCAA/ACC championships, despite own history debating LGBT rights
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Jacksonville expects to be competitive for NCAA/ACC championships, despite own history debating LGBT rights

Fifteen college athletic championship events are on the line.

Just two days after the NCAA announced they were pulling seven championship events from North Carolina in this academic year, the ACC announced it would pull eight championships as well.

This is all in response to North Carolina’s new state law, which prevents cities in the state from extending protections to the LGBT community beyond what is in state law. That means transgender people are required to use public restrooms which correspond to their sex, not their gender identity.

“NCAA championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans. Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment if NCAA events remained in the state,” says a statement from the NCAA on its decision.

“As members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC Council of Presidents reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination. Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites. We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values,” reads a statement from the ACC Council of Presidents.

The Jacksonville Sports Council is now looking to benefit off North Carolina’s loss.

“Our job, and the main reason we’ve been in business, was to chase championships,” says JAXSPORTS President/CEO Rick Catlett.

Catlett tells WOKV that they are waiting to see how the NCAA and ACC move forward with bidding out the events. He’s says they have a good history with both organizations and would be happy to host any of these events.

“Jacksonville has the venues for a lot of the championships, and we would be very competitive,” Catlett says.

He believes the City would be able to accommodate the tight timelines on some of the championships, and doesn’t foresee many other logistical issues. He knows there will be competition with other cities, but believes Jacksonville is in a good position.

The City is not without its own history of debating LGBT rights, though. An attempt several years ago to expand the City’s Human Rights Ordinance to include specific protection based on “sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression” failed, and the revived effort that sparked mid-2015 ended with the Mayor offering some action, and the City Council then withdrawing two competing HRO bills in order to see what impact that action had.

Jacksonville’s Mayor Lenny Curry ordered the City employment laws to be brought in to compliance with anti-discrimination protections at the state and federal level, but did not explicitly address private business, public accommodations, or housing. A WOKV investigation later found that the very protections at the center of the HRO debate- for sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression- have now, in fact, been added to City employment laws per the Mayor’s directive, but still no changes in the other areas.

Curry says it’s “fundamentally wrong” to compare Jacksonville and North Carolina in this area.

“North Carolina actively pursued restrictions of certain rights. Here in Jacksonville, under my leadership, we convened community conversations to consider the rights of people under the law. I loved to codify the City of Jacksonville’s policies procedures to ensure that they are consistent with civil rights protections under federal and state law. I believe now, as I stated then, we have taken an appropriate action. There is no question in my mind we are an open and inclusive city,” says a statement from Curry.

He adds that the City will continue to pursue NCAA events and that he believes they will have success in that.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • An 18-month-old boy died after a reported drowning at a Yulee home on Tuesday, officials said. The boy was taken to the hospital after the reported drowning on Lents Road near Roses Bluff Road at approximately 11 a.m. Nassau County Sheriff's Office deputies said the boy was in the care of his 15-year-old babysitter. He was in an above-ground pool outside a trailer, deputies said. His death is under investigation. No one has been charged at this point, deputies said.
  • The body of a woman found found Monday inside a bathroom at a Walmart in Oklahoma has been identified, but police still aren’t sure how long she was there. >> Read more trending news Sand Springs police have identified the woman as 29-year-old Katherine Caraway from Muskogee. According to police, employees assumed that the family bathroom was out of order because it was locked. Employees placed an out of order sign on the door Friday and it remained there throughout the weekend. On Monday, employees unlocked the bathroom door and found the woman.  Sand Springs Police say their preliminary investigation shows nothing suspicious about the woman's death. They do not know why she was in Sand Springs.  Walmart issued the following statement about the discovery:   'We are saddened by this. We don't know all the facts right now, but we are working closely with local law enforcement to provide what information we have that might be useful. Because this is an ongoing investigation, we must refer you to them for additional information.' 
  • A Middleburg man was arrested after witnesses say he pointed a bow and arrow at his neighbor's new boyfriend. That woman told Action News Jax she's frustrated law enforcement didn't take action sooner. 'He was always a very nice person, but he lost his mind,' she said. She asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation. Gary Ruddlesden lives with his mother right around the corner from her. Clay County deputies arrested Ruddlesden after witnesses said he pointed a bow and arrow at the woman's new boyfriend after an argument through the fence. 'Bow and arrow sounds kind of like a kid thing, almost. But it's like a hunting bow and arrow,' she said. Ruddlesden's mother said her son just wanted to scare them, not hurt them. 'He's not a bad person,' said Ruddlesden's mother. Ruddlesden told his mother and friends that the woman is his ex-girlfriend, but she said they were just friends. Clay County Sheriff's Office records show the woman called deputies out to her home three times in the past month with complaints that Ruddlesden was harassing her. 'Since May 26, I've probably gotten over 300 texts. So when the police came out, you know, you try to point out the threatening ones - that he was going to kill my animals,' she said. The reports said deputies told her to block his number. She said she hopes this will be a wake-up call to law enforcement that they need to take women's complaints of harassment more seriously. Ruddlesden is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, a third-degree felony. He is being held on $15,000 bond. Although Ruddlesden has had a few run-ins with the law in the past, including pleading guilty to trafficking drugs, court records show this was his first time being arrested for a violent crime in Clay County.
  • A fireworks recall is underway just in time for the Fourth of July. >> Read more trending news TNT Fireworks is recalling Red White & Blue Smoke Fireworks, which were sold at Walmart, Target and other stores. The product can explode unexpectedly, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. “The Blue Ammo Smoke effect could rapidly dispel from the bottom of the tube in an explosive manner posing a burn hazard,” the company said on its website. The pyrotechnics were sold in four states, Ohio, Illinois, Vermont and Wisconsin, between May and this month. The company said it is offering a refund or a replacement for those who bought the defective fireworks.
  • Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk was one of multiple European companies to fall victim Tuesday to a cyberattack as Ukrainian government officials reported a “large-scale hacker attack” across the country. >> Read more trending news Attacks were also reported in several other countries, Russia cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said in a statement, including the United States, Russia, Poland, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

The Latest News Videos