Sunday, December 29, 2013

List fail

'Tis the season for year in review lists.
Outsports compiled its own "gay sports year in review." 
Year-end reviews can sometimes be cursory. But I was initially impressed by the lesser known and/or remembered stories writer Jim Buzinski mentioned in the piece including a gay male high school basketball coach who came out to his team and received tremendous support.
But when I reached the end I asked (out loud to the empty room), did they not include Brittney Griner? So I did a page search for "griner" to compensate for any poor reading skills on my part. Nothing. It was not just that Griner came out, or rather stated publicly that she was gay; one of the biggest parts of the story was the way in which she was, as a player at Baylor, compelled to not discuss her sexuality even after telling her recruiters that she was gay when she was just in high school.
To leave this story off the list is unacceptable whether on purpose or oversight. (Another list, also by Buzinski, posted around Thanksgiving "Things we give thanks for in 2013 gay sports"--did include the Griner story as part of the
And even if it was the latter, such a mistake comes at a bad time. Critiques have been mounting about how the movement for acceptance of gay athletes has been quite male-centric. Such an oversight, and the list in general, reflects this ongoing problem. Outsports has always been male-centric, but in an end-of-the-year list--something more microcosmic--it shouldn't be hard to pay a little more attention to women. I mean there might not be as many of the stories about naked or nearly naked male athletes that Outsports writers seem to enjoy putting on these lists, but it would still be a nice thing.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Two slurs in five years (?)

This week Colorado State University announced it was suspending assistant football coach Greg Lupfer for a gay slur he used during the team's bowl game against Washington State. Lupfer used the term, which he paired with a curse word for emphasis, against Washington State's quarterback after the latter made a touchdown pass. Unclear why Lupfer was so upset so early in the game. It was only the first of six the quarterback, Connor Halliday, would make and CSU ended up winning the game anyway. Not that any circumstance would warrant such behavior. But it might explain why, as part of Lupfer's punishment, he is being required to undergo anger management. He also has to do the requisite "diversity training." He must pay for both interventions himself. (Are there random diversity classes out there? Ones not part of company or university training? I would invite him east to take my diversity course, but I'm not teaching it next semester.) And he has been suspended for two weeks.

This incident reminded me of the 2009 one involving University of Hawaii coach, Greg McMackin, who used the f#@@&t several times during a press conference. McMackin(who retired in 2011) also used the slur against another team (though not an individual), Notre Dame; specifically the "dance" they do before games. He was suspended without pay for 30 days.

Two incidents in five years. Well that's not bad, right?

Well here's what's disturbing to me. It's not about the number of times a coach uses the f-word. It's about how, when, and against whom. The Hawaii incident was particularly egregious because the McMackin used the term in a press conference--and more than once (3 times to be exact!). And like Lupfer's comment, it was directed at an opposing entity. I believe the public finds the behavior, at the very least, in poor taste because the coaches, authority figures, used it against college students. So there is the adult/student paradigm. There is also the issue of using the term against an opponent and in public. It comes across as a little but tacky (at best) and rather (unnecessarily) malicious.

But of course there have not been just two uses of the term by football coaches in five years. It probably gets used daily by coaches during football season. They just don't get caught on tape (well on tape that goes public). [Though the situation with former Rutgers men's basketball coach Mike Rice should be a warning to coaches whose normal discourse includes anti-gay (and I would add misogynist) slurs.]

It is not surprising that a coach would use such a term publicly when he is probably using it privately (i.e., not in front of national media outlets) quite frequently.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Russia does honey badger

Russia don't care. Russia just keeps on planning its Olympics. It don't care that more and more heads of state are opting not to come to the opening ceremonies in Sochi in February. 
Taking a cue from the infamous honey badger, Russian officials are claiming indifference regarding the news the leaders from the US, France, and England, among others, will not be coming to the Olympics as a form of protest against Russia's human rights record, namely (but not entirely) its anti-gay "propaganda" laws. (The US has some other issues with the country as well. I think the controversy over gay people in and coming to Russia has provided an easy out for US leaders and diplomats.)
So instead the US is sending a delegation that includes three out gay people!
Cunning? Passive aggressive? Brilliant?
Don't matter. Honey badger...I mean Russia don't care. Unless they are a little less honey badger-esque than they are letting on.