Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma didn't shy away from controversial issues Wednesday during a conference call with national media before heading to Tampa for the Final Four.
In typically unguarded fashion, Auriemma weighed in on the controversy surrounding Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would prohibit state and local laws that "substantially burden" the ability of people -- including businesses and associations -- to follow their religious beliefs.
"Life is hard enough. What do you care what other people are doing, as long as it doesn't affect you?"Geno Auriemma
Auriemma said he's "just a basketball coach," but he has been watching news reports about the firestorm that has been created since Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill last week. Businesses, entertainers, civil rights groups and other officials from states and cities have vowed to boycott Indiana in its wake, expressing concern that the law will be used to discriminate against members of the LGBT community.
"How small-minded do you have to be to care this much about how other people live their lives?" Auriemma said. "Life is hard enough. Why do you care what other people are doing, as long as it doesn't affect you?
"Hiding behind this religious crap is the most cowardly thing I've ever heard. I don't know all the details ... but it's 2015."
NCAA president Mark Emmert has already expressed concern, and he indicated that while the men's Final Four will be held in Indianapolis this weekend, the NCAA might consider moving future events out of the state. The 2016 Women's Final Four is scheduled to take place in Indianapolis next spring.
Auriemma said he's sure the people of Indiana are "nice people."
"I'm sure they don't want to see a Final Four canceled. I'm sure they don't want all the bad publicity they are getting. Nobody wants that," Auriemma said. "But come on and come to your senses here. Go on with your life and let everybody else go on with theirs. That's my approach, and I don't understand anybody who has a different approach."
Also during Wednesday's conference call, Auriemma decried men's college basketball, calling the men's game "a joke."