Football (American) | Gay Slurs | Hawaii | News

Hawaii Coach Sobs in Apology After 30-Day Suspension for Gay Slur


Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin, who used the word "faggots" in reference to Notre Dame players several times during a WAC press conference and then pleaded with the press not to cover it, has been given a 30 day suspension without pay and additional penalties:

"Officials say the coach's comments violated university policy, and as a result coach Mcmackin is being suspended without pay for 30 days. The coach has volunteered to work for free during the suspension. In addition to the 30 days of no pay, the coach will voluntarily take a 7 percent pay cut. He will also appear in a public service announcement. Based on the coach's million-dollar-a-year salary, 30-days of no-pay and a 7 percent cut takes more than 150,000 dollars from the coach...Part of the money saved from his suspension will pay for a student intern for the University's gay student services office. Mcmackin will also have to make presentations about the topic during student orientations, and work on awareness training for the athletics program."

McMackin broke down sobbing during a second apology, following his suspension.

A report on the suspension and a video of the coach's second apology, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I kinda actually feel bad for him. I think the suspension was a bit excessive.

    Some reprimand would've been appropriate for a first-time offender.

    Posted by: Lucrece | Aug 1, 2009 3:32:19 PM

  2. Wow, I actually think they handled this well. It seems fair, and with the money towards the intern and the Coach's continuing work toward public service on GLBT issues, they didn't sweep this under the rug, and they're using the incident to genuinely work with the GLBT community. I was afraid they'd just give the coach a verbal slap on the wrist and then he'd return to privately throwing around the f-word, but he seems sincerely contrite. It's rare to see an organization deal so productively with this kind of incident. I'm impressed.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Aug 1, 2009 3:37:37 PM

  3. Co-sign 100% with BobbyJoe.

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Aug 1, 2009 3:45:00 PM

  4. I feel sorry for him too, but that's a fine redirection of money and programming attention.

    Posted by: PM | Aug 1, 2009 3:49:27 PM

  5. What's the big deal?

    Posted by: Doug Berman | Aug 1, 2009 4:00:19 PM

  6. i thinks this is a bit much too. I understand if he lost his mind and went on a tirade but he slipped and tried to make ammends. I think making the man cry is a bit excessive.

    And did anyone else wonder how much the man is making if a %7 cut equals $150,000?

    Posted by: AsherStClaire | Aug 1, 2009 4:06:15 PM

  7. wow i feel bad for the guy. thats a bit excessive.

    Posted by: Tony | Aug 1, 2009 4:25:48 PM

  8. I can appreciate the apology.

    But I think calling this a slip - he used the F word THREE times in one speech - is a bit rich. You don't use words like that, that many times, without some level of comfort with them. If he had used the N word ONCE he would have been fired.

    He seems sincere in his apology. I think given that $150,000 represents only 7% of his salary, this isn't too much to teach him and many like him a lesson.

    And I do think the use of the money being fined is a good use of it.

    Posted by: Jon Brian Blake | Aug 1, 2009 4:26:44 PM

  9. You can see that he really is devastated by this. I believed him at the very beginning when he said that he regretted saying it. I feel sorry for the guy.

    Is it me, or did the hot football guy being interviewed seem like a 'family member'?

    Posted by: David in Houston | Aug 1, 2009 4:30:15 PM

  10. The excessive fine is ridiculous here. Finally, a remorseful guy who is man enough to say sorry (and cry about it!), but he is punished worse than most.

    Now, straight people will focus on the disproportionate punishment rather than simply focusing on the issue at hand: GLBT acceptance and tolerance.

    David - No, he's not gay, but he is hot.

    Posted by: Drew | Aug 1, 2009 4:49:46 PM

  11. The $150K is not 7% of his pay; it's 7% of his pay plus the month without pay. It says he earns $1 million a year, so it's $70K + $80K.

    I think it's excessive too, especially the pay cut. Obviously the student intern isn't going to cost much.

    Posted by: Paul R | Aug 1, 2009 5:35:45 PM

  12. Hhhhmmm. I question the real effectiveness of this at anything other than producing a backlash. It could become more newsworthy by its harshness than the insensitivity of what he said. It's true that, had he said the "N word" in such a context, there would have been a fantastic uproar and he would have been fired. But the double standard we have to live with is the N word is "less OK" than faggot. I think there should have been a monetary fine but a much smaller one. The PSA is probably the best idea, I hope it is handled in a non-clumsy way. Let's face it, such a PSA could just seem silly to the "target audience" of young male sports fans.

    Scientific research shows biases take a long time to change: I'm not sure he's contrite because of what he did or because he was caught and is paying a big and embarrassing price for it. I think the emotion he displays is probably a mix of both. The problem is you're putting on one man's shoulder the sociological burden of how a word is actually used in context versus the strict sense of what it denotes: he probably didn't literally mean that the ND team are all MSMs, but that they were "losers".

    Still in the world of sports discourse and narrative, I have much more sympathy for this man than I do for Nike's blatantly exploitative "It Ain't Right" ad campaign of a couple years ago. (which, by targeting that specific audience with that specific message, was, in a subtle way, also rather racist, i.e., "the blacks fear [association with] the gays, so let's play on their fear to sell some shoes."

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | Aug 1, 2009 5:59:33 PM

  13. I think the punishment is appropriate - he got the message and it seems he may truly have taken it to heart. I don't know that something lesser would have inspired this level of introspection and revelation. I hope it sticks.

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Aug 1, 2009 6:14:24 PM

  14. It's not an excessive punishment. This type of behavior will never stop until repercussions like this are the norm and not the exception. Do you think this man would even still have a job at all if he'd uttered the dreaded "n-word"? I think the equally repellent "f-word" is worth at least $150K in fines.

    Maybe some kid will see this story and realize that it's wrong to call another kid a f*g. Maybe some LGBT teen will see that others are standing up for his/her rights and dignity and will feel that he/she really matters.

    It might sound grandiose, but things like this really do have an aggregate effect. This is about much more than fining one man for his ignorant slurs, it's about setting the example that such behavior is harmful, unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

    Posted by: ichabod | Aug 1, 2009 6:15:38 PM

  15. Yeah -- those tears are all about the money he is losing ... whatta loser.

    And can you imagine a coach making a racially offensive ethnic joke and still keeping his job? Don't whine to me that it is excessive unless you would be consistent in your judgment.

    Posted by: chapeau | Aug 1, 2009 6:19:34 PM

  16. It's not like it's illegal to say "faggot" off the cuff, even 3 times, right? He knew he made an error and apologized, which was enough for me. I'm glad the penalty fine will support the LGBT campus community, though. Or if it is illegal to say faggot, cunt, nigger, etc. please let me know so i can empty my bookshelves of Susie Bright, Mark Twain and Bob Smith before the police arrive at my doorstep!

    Posted by: Daniel | Aug 1, 2009 6:21:08 PM

  17. the man was sufficiently contrite. he apologized to the young men on his team. it was a "teachable" moment. can we put this issue to bed now?

    Posted by: nic | Aug 1, 2009 6:22:14 PM

  18. "Maybe some kid will see this story and realize that it's wrong to call another kid a f*g."

    You must not know many kids because unfortunately that's not how their minds work.

    You have to take a historicist's perspective: did the N word become verboten because coaches were fined for using it, or because cultural changes, and changes in the world of sports made most [younger] people realize that blacks could contribute as much to professional sports as whites could? (or for that matter - to society at large)

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | Aug 1, 2009 6:26:19 PM

  19. Hey,
    I just was curious what American Gay Agenda is. I went to the gayest neighbourhood of New York City to ask gay guys what does the gay agenda mean. Does America have Gay Agenda? Find out:

    Posted by: Sergey | Aug 1, 2009 6:34:10 PM

  20. This isn't excessive at all; if anything it was too lenient. I'm so sick of us trying to fight for our rights and then feeling sorry for people that exhibit the same kind of behavior that keeps us down. Ask yourself this: what would have happened to this guy if he had said "nigger" three times? Right, he would have been fired and never would have worked in sports again. Here's the deal people: if you want us to be equal, we have to demand the same respect as African Americans, and the term "faggot" has to come with the same weight as "nigger". And for all those saying that they had slavery and we didn't, bullshit. You don't need to have slavery to deserve respect. For hundreds of years, and continuing even today, LGBT people that have been executed (including in the German concentration camps), murdered, beaten, permanently injured, bullied, and we are still fighting for our civil rights.

    What he did perpetuates the exact kind of thinking that leads to all of the violence against LGBT people we read about here almost every day: that we are "other" and to be made fun of and marginalized. Kill a fag, they're not real people.

    Fuck him, he got off easy.

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 1, 2009 6:35:02 PM

  21. The offense was revolting.

    The punishment was, shockingly, quite appropriate.

    I believe the coach is sincerely remorseful, and I accept his apology.

    I hope that he will take this moment and run with it. He has a chance to be a leader among his colleagues, and to effect enormous change through his response to this incident. What he does with this opportunity will be the true test of his mettle, and I for one will be watching carefully and rooting for the coach as well as the GLBT community.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Aug 1, 2009 6:36:16 PM

  22. um, the only thing that seems "excessive" here is the man's SALARY. a university is, first and foremost, an institution of LEARNING. one has to wonder how many of the TEACHING faculty make a million a year...not many, if any at all, i'd wager. this is about setting an example, people, and an an example LONG over-due in the area of sports and homophobia. kudos to the university for having the balls to be among the first organizations to finally take a strong stand and send the very clear message that enough is enough and it's time for this shit to STOP. the bastard's lucky he still has a job at all!

    Posted by: Jim | Aug 1, 2009 6:42:29 PM

  23. This is probably excessive, but I'm going to have to throw my hat in with so many others here, at least the fine is going to good use.

    And Daniel, no, speaking repugnant language is perfectly legal; however, the coach made a statement as a college employee. The university is the one docking his pay and imposing the punishment, excessive though it may be. More than anything, I think that this is a lesson in conducting yourself in the public forum. By imposing this punishment, the university is making a statment about professional conduct and distancing itself from anti-gay rhetoric.

    Posted by: Algy | Aug 1, 2009 6:48:02 PM

  24. Someone should show this to Hollywood and people like Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen who constantly use these kinds of terms to degrade other straight men (because being a fag is the worst thing you could possibly be!) and get a laugh. If only they showed as much remorse for the countless uses of such terms that this coach did from just one. What an impression on the youth of today who so love to go to his movies. Bravo, coach! Your remorse is appreciated.

    Posted by: Joe | Aug 1, 2009 7:01:56 PM

  25. I think this was handled well. Universities are places of higher education where respect for all people is central to the mission. The ideal learning environment is one free of discriminatory speech. He'll be fine. And we should hold educators – including coaches – to a high standard. They're charged with shaping the minds of tomorrow.

    Posted by: Scott B. | Aug 1, 2009 7:19:07 PM

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