DURHAM, N.C. -- The Marist Red Foxes wore black socks trimmed with rainbow colors for their season-opening, 94-49 loss at Duke on Friday. The socks were used as a sign of unity with the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community in response to North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2 law.
Marist coach Mike Maker said his team traveled with about 20 students, many of whom sported red, tie-dyed shirts that read "Love is Love" on the front and "I stand on the right side of history" on the back. Maker said the team had the support of the institution, including president David Yellen and athletic director Tim Murray.
"Marist and Duke share similar missions when it comes to inclusiveness and diversity and the respect they have for all that," Maker said. "We met a lot with our players, and most of them decided that it'd be a good idea to show support in regards to that issue, and I'm very proud of how they handled themselves."
Duke was initially scheduled to play Albany in the season opener as part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. Albany was forced to back out of the deal in July after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that banned all state-sponsored, non-essential travel to the state of North Carolina.
Cuomo's order was in response to North Carolina passing House Bill 2 into law in March. HB2 is better known as the "Bathroom Bill," which included a clause that said transgendered persons must use the public bathroom that corresponds to their gender at birth, and opponents say this allows for discrimination against the LGBT community.
Marist is located in Poughkeepsie, New York, but as a private school, it does not have to adhere to the ban.
"It's an issue that I think resonates through many campuses," Maker said. "I think at schools like Duke and Marist, our guys respect that and are aware of the laws in North Carolina. We were here to play a game but at the same time bring attention to the subject as well."