This feature on Kyle Hawkins, a lacrosse coach at University of Missouri, who recently came out makes it seem like things are getting better in college athletics--even for gay men. Although there is plenty of sadness and struggle in the story about Hawkins who started coaching the club team at Missouri several years ago, the story presents Hawkins's coming out as a success and an event that has changed the lives of some of those involved.
I am glad for Hawkins and his team and pleased that the University of Missouri did not waiver in their support of Hawkins. I am glad that the referee who called him a faggot and equated gay men with child molesters got suspended for a year. And I am glad this story was done by the AP and picked up outside of Missouri.
I am a little concerned with some of the things Hawkins said about gay players--three actually who have decided to go to Mizzou to play for Hawkins--being short-sighted in choosing the program because the coach is gay. Hawkins stresses if they think they are getting special treatment then they are wrong.
I think they probably just want to be treated decently and other programs cannot offer that kind of atmosphere for out players. I think it shows amazing insight for teenagers--to know that sports are important but that being free from abuse and ridicule is more important. Clearly the presence of an openly gay coach is a comment on the team environment that hopefully extends to the university community. And I think a smart, gay kid sees that and pursues it.