Football (American) | Gay Slurs | Hawaii | News

Hawaii Coach Asks Media Not to Cover His 'Faggot' Slur, Apologizes

Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin repeatedly used an anti-gay slur at a media preview on Thursday and then attempted to persuade the media to not report on it, the Idaho Statesman reports:

Mcmackin "Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin said Thursday at the WAC media football preview that Notre Dame did 'this little faggot dance' at a banquet the night before last year’s Hawaii Bowl. McMackin used the term 'faggot' three times while explaining why Notre Dame was so fired up to play Hawaii in the game, which the Fighting Irish won 49-21. McMackin responded to the Notre Dame clapping tradition by having his players do the ha’a, an intense Polynesian dance and chant the Warriors do before games. McMackin said Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis got up at the banquet and told the crowd, 'We do something special at Notre Dame.' 'And they get up and they do this little cheer, like this,' McMackin said Thursday, doing a rhythmic clap. 'You know, this little faggot dance.' Once McMackin saw Notre Dame’s team demonstration, he gave his players the signal — the shaka — to do their ha’a."

McMackin apparently pleaded with the press not to report on the slur: "I want to officially, officially apologize...Please don’t write that statement I said as far as Notre Dame. The reason is, I don’t care about Notre Dame. But I’m not a — I don’t want to come out and have every homosexual ticked off at me. You know what I mean. Because I don’t have any problem with homosexuals. But I apologize for saying that and I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t run that word. If you said dance, that’s OK. But don’t use the bad term that I chose, please. Thank you."

The paper adds:

"Once it was clear that McMackin’s comments would be reported, he made another statement to the media. 'I would sincerely like to apologize for the inappropriate verbage, words that I used,' he said. '… I’m really ticked off at myself for saying that. I don’t have any prejudices and it really makes me mad that I even said that and I’m disappointed in myself. … What I was trying to do was be funny and it’s not funny and even more it isn’t funny to me. I was trying to make a joke and it was a bad choice of words and I really — I really, really — feel bad about it and I wanted to apologize. I’m going to apologize to my team. I’m going to apologize to the people in Hawaii.' A Notre Dame spokesman said the school likely would not comment."

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Comments

  1. JohnInManhattan: Oh no... my homophobia is not internalized. I wear it on my sleeve... when I need to. I live in the Castro and every day I see the same hate being dished out to gays by gays that all gays say is wrong. I see young gays treating old gays poorly. I see white gays being shit to black gays who in turn and shit to Asian gays. Maybe it's not THAT severe but I do see it frequently. I've heard white gays call black gays the 'N' word. The nastiness between some gay men and lesbians. Man Haters. Woman Hates. I've heard gays seethe the word 'breeders' to a harmless straight couple. Without apology. Some gays think that hate crimes don't exist within the so-called 'Gay Community.' BLIND!
    I've used inappropriate words.
    I'd just like to think that the people who think this coach should be PUNISHED, after he did the right thing, have never, EVER done anything similar. If they say they haven't, they're lying.
    EVERYBODY is guilty of this at some point. How many actually apologize? My guess is very few.

    Posted by: JimmyD | Jul 30, 2009 6:20:14 PM


  2. RE JimmyD: Sending a well-worded, well-reasoned letter is extreme? The reasoning that someone in such a habit of using a word uses it in situations in which is should not be used is sound. I don't like cursing around my parents when I visit them, but it is sometimes hard to stop because I use those words frequently.

    I think that a perfectly acceptable apology would be to invite members of the press into a practice to show that words similar to that are not used on a frequent basis against or in front the students entrusted to his care. These are students that have been put in his care in every way that they are put in a teacher's care -- perhaps more. They will learn from, and internalize, what he says.

    As for the argument that 'we all do this, so we must forgive others that do', this seems like a take on an ad populum argument (a logical fallacy). Instead of accepting these things in ourselves, and I admit that I say things I would rather not say also, we should constantly strive to do better. And we should push others to do better also. We should never accept something because everyone does. That is the whole point of changing perceptions -- they should be changed. I catch myself when I slip up and push myself to do better. Others should push him also.

    Please, take 25 seconds to send a well worded and well reasoned letter to the President of the University and the Coach himself.

    Posted by: Curtis Atkisson | Jul 30, 2009 6:20:26 PM


  3. Speaking for the entire gay community, I accept his apology ;-)

    Posted by: David in Houston | Jul 30, 2009 6:21:19 PM


  4. Curtis: I can understand a letter campaign IF the person didn't apologize. In this case? I think he's done all he needs to do. If it happens again? That's a different story.
    Recently: Sarah Palin attacked David Letterman regarding a joke that went wrong. He didn't need to apologize but he did. That wasn't good enough for good Christian Palin. She made demands. Wanted a protest.
    When is an apology not to be accepted?
    If it's insincere or forced. I don't see either coming from this coach.

    Posted by: JimmyD | Jul 30, 2009 6:25:01 PM


  5. I might send a letter commending the coach for doing the right thing.

    Posted by: JimmyD | Jul 30, 2009 6:25:44 PM


  6. So if a white cop (I think we all presume McMackin is straight) discussing a criminal he had an interaction with "accidently" lets "Nigger" slip from his lips, and apologizes, that's okay? "He's not a racist, he just got excited." I can see Dick Cheney using that excuse.

    If those thoughts weren't running through his mind, those words would never have passed his lips.

    Posted by: MikeinSanJose | Jul 30, 2009 6:32:44 PM


  7. I accept the coach at his word, and it was a well-stated apology. Let it go. . .there are bigger issues than this we face every day.

    Posted by: Keith | Jul 30, 2009 6:35:25 PM


  8. There is a whole generation that just needs to hurry up and die off.

    Posted by: Kev in LA | Jul 30, 2009 6:50:56 PM


  9. Yeah, JimmyD.....words just slip out, sometimes; nigger, kike, wop, jungle bunny....sometimes just can't help it....as long as they apologize, afterwards, I guess it's just a meaningless slip of the tongue...

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Jul 30, 2009 7:44:43 PM


  10. I'm inclined to give the guy a pass. He said somethign wrong and he recognised it and his apology isn't one of those streamlined PR jobs - he realised he'd offended people and he wanted to say sorry. Yeah, there was homophobic content in what he said, but from his apology I don't get the feeling that he's a bigot. The reason for the apology might have been because of his professional position, but because of the 'pleading' unrehearsed aspect of it, I don't get the impression that he'd like to be thought of like that personally.

    Posted by: Darrien | Jul 30, 2009 7:54:31 PM


  11. Who cares. Moving on. Is this a "teachable moment"?

    Posted by: Name: | Jul 30, 2009 8:05:49 PM


  12. Dame sucks!! I forgive the one with big stomach

    Posted by: frank | Jul 30, 2009 8:06:58 PM


  13. I totally agree with others...if he had used the "N" word three times he wouldn't have a job today...I've lived in Hawaii and attended UH...he's just the tip of the iceberg...there wasn't a day go by that the term "mahoo" wasn't slung around...sorry if I misspelled it....but nothing will be done about this because we (the gay community) worry more about what we are wearing to the bar or to the gym than we do in making people understand it's not OK to degrade us...it's sad.....

    Posted by: scott | Jul 30, 2009 8:20:54 PM


  14. JimmyD,
    I have to wonder what circles you are in or where you hang out to see the things you describe seeing "every day." I've met thousands of gay people from coast to coast and I have never met a gay man who said anything to suggest he hated women or used a racist word to describe blacks. If I ever did meet such a person, I'd probably tell him I'm offended and wouldn't waste another minute on him after that.
    I've even visited San Francisco several times and saw a lot of social harmony at least in the places I chose to go.

    Posted by: GregV | Jul 30, 2009 8:35:11 PM


  15. @ Scott

    Gays degrade each other and sometimes even themselves.What do you expect?As I said b4,we really should be cleaning our own backyard in this alleged "gay community" b4 we go off crying foul to heteros 24/7.

    Posted by: James | Jul 30, 2009 8:36:02 PM


  16. Slipped out?

    Geez, if I ever let anything like the n-word or (the anti-Semitic) k-word or anything else of the sort "slip out," particularly three times, for cryin' out loud, I'd expect to be immediately fired on the spot, apology or not. And I'd sure as heck deserve to be. 'cause the thing is, those words aren't gonna "slip out" in public unless I'm going around thinking or saying them in private. And any business worth its salt is likely to recognize that, and, really, do you want a great big old bigot representing you in, well, anything?

    So, yeah, he's sorry he said it... to the PRESS.

    Would he be sorry if he says it (and keeps saying it) to his friends, neighbors, and players? You know, when there's not a mic or camera around to catch him? Or is this okay? I mean, if we don't hear it from now on, what possible damage could it do, right?

    So, what IS the "teachable moment" in this instance? Not to have this kind of bigoted mindset and not to say these things at all, or just not to say them when there's a news organization around to catch you?

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jul 30, 2009 8:39:00 PM


  17. @ Greg

    Trust me there are a good number of racist white queens and woman-hating gay men out there.They may not act out much in public,but they do exist.Some even right here on towleroad.Open your eyes and ears...G

    Posted by: James | Jul 30, 2009 8:39:34 PM


  18. Someone try to find a better apology from a middle-aged football coach. You won't find one. Maybe he was trying to cover up his use of the word to cover his ass, but maybe he was genuinely chagrined at his poor choice of words. Everyone says things they regret.

    And GregV, if you've "never met a gay man who said anything to suggest he hated women or used a racist word to describe blacks," you might want to get your hearing checked. Misogyny and racism are far too common among a certain type of gay men (usually white).

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 30, 2009 9:34:32 PM


  19. He's clearly got some homophobia issues, but I can accept that apology. I don't want to hang out with someone like that any time soon, but I'm willing to cross him off my enemies list.

    Posted by: DELIUS | Jul 30, 2009 9:42:38 PM


  20. I don't insist that any individual respect me or genuinely feel sorry after using an epithet.

    However, I do insist that individuals FAKE IT. And in turn, I agree to fake respect for them and regret for hurting their feelings as well.

    McMackin meets the standard. Who cares what he actually "feels?" He backed down, he apologized. There's not much more we can really ask for.

    Posted by: Yeek | Jul 30, 2009 10:03:50 PM


  21. Clay, FYI, they changed the nickname before this guy became the head coach. Not his doing.

    We constantly ask people to learn from mistakes and stop acting in harmful ways. Maybe this man is doing exactly that. I too like the tone of the apology. I think we should shake hands and ask him to wear a grass skirt to the next game.

    Posted by: JMDRWAC | Jul 30, 2009 11:18:05 PM


  22. I don't really know the backgrounds of all you 'passers' come from, but I wonder if you have ever lived in an atmosphere of homophobia before. Not only the blatant homophobia, but the sleight backhanded homophobia. The type of homophobia where people tell their favorite gay joke because it is funny and 'not because they are homophobic'. The type of homophobia where people use words like faggot to make others angry, but would never dream of calling that to an actual gay person. The type of homophobia where people know that the hairstylist, the interior designer and the boutique owner are gay. Environments like these can be as bad as having a bullet shot through a window.

    Listen: All I ask is that we continually hold people up to a higher standard in reference to situations like this until it can never happen. We hold each other up to higher standards when we are encountered with these, and other derogatory, statements. That we demand more from ourselves than we do now, and, after we achieve that, demand more. The only way to prevent something like this is to demand it get changed. I'm not asking for an apology statement of words. I'm asking for an apology statement of action. It is not enough to say sorry for saying it in front of the press. At the least, the coach could make it a team policy that these words carry punishment with them. This would be an excellent way to show true remorse.

    Oh, and by the way, anyone who says that we should tolerate homophobia just because he is a football coach, or because he is anything, is begging to live in a world where people never change. People should never get passes to be homophobic or derogatory at all -- and that includes us.

    Posted by: Curtis Atkisson | Jul 30, 2009 11:55:37 PM


  23. Listen to the audio if you think he is sincere in his apology.

    Dude should be fired. Not because he said "faggot" but because he tried to cover it up. Second time he's fucked up at a presser and asked the press to cover for him. Last time they mostly did.

    Guy can't be trusted, shows no honor. Not able to effectively manage or discipline players as a result.

    On a different note, does anyone else have the same reaction as I do to the word "breeder"? I have honestly only ever heard it used in obviously false narratives like the one JIMMYD serves up about what a cesspit of bigotry the Castro is. I've only heard racist comments in the Castro on the movie screen or when they came out of the mouth of a guy I saw dating on our last date.
    I'm not saying there aren't racist things said in the Castro daily, but Jimmy needs to do a better job of picking his friends. There sure as fuck is no shortage of non-racist gays in the Castro. Jesus.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Jul 31, 2009 1:51:21 AM


  24. I accept the apology. At the same time, I wonder if there isn't the possibility the man realized, after making the slur, that this would affect his job, and rushed to protect his career rather than rushed to apologize. Lots of institutions of higher learning seriously frown on all kinds of bigotry.

    Nonetheless, the man seemed sincere, so let it go.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Jul 31, 2009 6:49:43 AM


  25. I was unwilling to let it go, and I think that it might have an impact. I e-mailed the President of the UH system yesterday and received a response this morning. The response is below:

    Mr. Atkisson,


    As I have said to the media (see http://www.kitv.com/video/20231155/index.html), I am angered and disappointed by the statement attributed to Coach McMackin. It certainly does not represent the values of the University of Hawaii.

    The coach of the football team of the University of Hawaii at Manoa -- one of the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaii system -- reports to UH Manoa Athletics Director Jim Donovan. Donovan in turn reports directly to the leader of the UH Manoa campus, Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw; both are copied on this reply. They will have direct responsibility for handling this matter going forward.

    Tomorrow marks the end of my five years of service as the University of Hawaii President. Vice President Linda Johnsrud will be Acting President until M.R.C. Greenwood arrives in Hawaii on August 20. I am also copying VP Johnsrud on this reply.

    David McClain
    President
    University of Hawaii System

    As you can see, the President of the entire system responded to my letter -- which means that my letter was taken seriously. The President has now sent letters to the soon to be Acting President, the Chancellor of the campus and the Athletic Director.

    Little things like this can make an impact. Imagine if all of you 'passers' had e-mailed also. Think about the potential difference in the magnitude of the response. It only took me 2 minutes to write the e-mail. It would have only taken you 25 seconds to copy, paste and send the e-mail. Would that really have been too much?

    Posted by: Curtis Atkisson | Jul 31, 2009 9:36:36 AM


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