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.

1 comment:

Diane said...

And if they used the p-word (or one of its many derivatives), that would be okay, I'm sure. Because we've decided its "wrong" to insult a man by calling him a gay man but it's okay to insult him by calling him a woman.

The showboat continues its journey.