North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on Tuesday criticized the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) decision to relocate all previously awarded championship events from North Carolina over the state's anti-gay law.

McCrory, who has vigorously defended the law, said in a statement that the NCAA's decision disrespects student athletes and “hard-working men and women.”

“The issue of redefining gender and basic norms of privacy will be resolved in the near future in the United States court system for not only North Carolina, but the entire nation,” McCrory said. “I strongly encourage all public and private institutions to both respect and allow our nation’s judicial system to proceed without economic threats or political retaliation toward the 22 states that are currently challenging government overreach. Sadly, the NCAA, a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt monopoly, failed to show this respect at the expense of our student athletes and hard-working men and women.”

GOP lawmakers in March approved House Bill 2 during a one-day special session. The first-in-the-nation law prohibits transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice in government buildings, including schools. HB2 also blocks cities and municipalities from enacting measures which prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community.

Passage of the law sparked a political backlash, with several companies announcing that they would trim back investments in the state.

In a recent campaign ad, McCrory, who is trailing his Democratic rival in several polls, called the law “common sense.”