Discrimination | Nebraska | Omaha | Religion

Nebraska Coach Ron Brown Criticized For Anti-Gay Rant In Omaha

On March 6th, University of Nebraska football coach Ron Brown appeared before the Omaha City Council to testify against anti-discrimination regulations proposed by Councilmember Ben Gray. His argument, essentially, was this: By protecting LGBTs from employment discrimination, the council would grant its imprimatur to sodomy. (The idea that Bible-believing Christians might be both anti-sodomy and anti-employment discrimination never occurred to him.) Andy's been covering the Omaha drama extensively -- click here for the full back story.

Brown's testimony -- viewable AFTER THE JUMP -- has irked some Huskers fans, including John F. Carroll, who wrote the following to Tom Osborne, Athletic Director at University of Nebraska: 

As a gay Christian (that bleeds all things Big Red), and a long time season ticket holder that comes with a $1,000 dollar donation each year, I really felt betrayed by Coach Brown's comments. I am no stranger to this type of rhetoric. I was shocked to hear Coach Brown tie Memorial Stadium to his anti-gay statements.

I am a licensed registered nurse and an attorney. I say grace with every meal. I pray daily for those in need. I have dealt with homophobia since I was kid. I was bullied throughout school. In my twenties, I was fired from a job and kicked out of an apartment because I was gay. In my thirties, I was the victim of a hate crime and I was outed on the television show Survivor. Now in my 40s, I still hear the anti-gay rhetoric throughout my beloved state.

I am all for free speech. There are limits when a representative like Coach Brown who is associated with the University exercises his first amendment rights and states that his address is Memorial Stadium. I get that it was an attempt at humor; I can assure you that many gay and straight husker fans did not find it funny.

As you are aware, the University is comprised of all types of various colors, genders, ages, religions, and yes, people of different sexual orientations and gender identities. While Coach Brown's fight for his civil rights, is waning, the rights of gays and lesbians are far from secure. To hear Coach Brown, a representative of the University of Nebraska, use God and Jesus to argue against providing gays and lesbians protection from people that would harm them in the work place is beyond the pale. It makes me wonder what would happen if one of the football players came out. Would he bench them? Would he recommend kicking them off the team? I know former players that are gay. Has the University ever once asked them what it was like hiding in plain sight?

You can read the full letter here.

Osborne apologized, writing that:

I'm sorry that you've been offended by Ron Brown's comments. I can assure you that Ron's comments are reflective of his own views and do not represent those of the Athletic Department or the University. 

But Ron Brown won't shut up. In interviews last week, according to Omaha.com:

... Brown also questioned whether he would have been criticized if he had testified in support of the anti-discrimination proposal.

“Should every employee from the University of Nebraska have to say that they're not representing the university?” Brown asked. “Would I have been OK if I was on the other side of the coin, in terms of if I was in favor of the proposal?”

Of course it would have, Ron, because in that instance you would have been repping the University's POV. Not all opinions are equal. 


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  1. I just wish there was some form of consistency among these idiots from the religious-Right.

    i mean, i'd love to heard Coach Brown's thoughts on Jewish Nebraskans. Or Atheists. Or any non-Christians.

    You show me and anti-gay Christian and I'll show you an anti-Semite.

    while "theological consistency" is indeed a neverending conundrum, I just wish these plebes would at least attempt it.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Mar 10, 2012 2:23:26 PM

  2. Attempting to understand and comprehend the entrenched prejudice in Fundamentalist theology is futile. Adherents base their thought processes on a piece of mythology. However the danger that they represent is real and extremely troubling. There is absolutely no difference between them and the Taliban except the fundamentalists have opportunities open to them that aren't available to their brethren in the Middle East and elsewhere- and that is education. For an educator to spout this bile is sad and offers very little hope for the future in this country.

    Posted by: nick | Mar 10, 2012 2:38:54 PM

  3. "I'm sorry that you've been offended by Ron Brown's comments"

    This is NOT an apology. This is like saying, "I am sorry that you are so hypersensitive that you took offense at Brown's comments." For all we know, Osbourne may agree with what Brown said.

    Posted by: voet | Mar 10, 2012 2:44:38 PM

  4. Coach Brown would be delighted with Nebraska being a theocracy. Once established there, theocracy could spread to other states and eventually to the Federal Government, which could then establish a Catholic-style Inquisition. Coach Brown might feel safe, have his beliefs become the law of the land with all sinners punished, and finally be happy as a fulfilled Christian.

    Posted by: trees | Mar 10, 2012 2:49:15 PM

  5. WHAT can we do about the blatant Black homophobia, which has not gotten much better, and certainly does not come from all Black people?
    WHAT does God and Jesus have to do with a city or county ordinance?

    Posted by: Bob | Mar 10, 2012 2:49:21 PM

  6. And according to his precious bible, it was okay that his ancestors were slaves because they were not believers.

    Posted by: QJ201 | Mar 10, 2012 2:53:45 PM

  7. @BOB, we can start by addressing that it's blatant faux-Christian homophobia, for starters.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Mar 10, 2012 2:56:25 PM

  8. The athletic director shouldn't apologize for his coach; he should FIRE him. There are gay kids who have gone through that program, likely at least one or two on the team today, who are likely in the closet and now living in that much more fear that they'll be found out.

    Now they know they won't just be targeted, but according to their coach, they should be 'fired' from the team for being gay. That could lose them their scholarships and put them at odds with god knows how many fanatical fans and teammates from the campus -- putting him in danger.

    There should be outrage over the coach's comments and he should be immediately fired from the team. Like yesterday.

    Posted by: Ryan | Mar 10, 2012 3:31:37 PM

  9. As someone who has been a victim of employment discrimination, I am particularly offended by this representative of a public university. In my case, after accepting an opportunity for advancement, everything was fine - until the rumors started - and my life became a living hell. What I do, or anyone does, in the privacy of their bedrooms is of no concern to this assistant coach, and it is shocking that he is allowed to blatantly discriminate against students and others in his university.

    Posted by: Rance | Mar 10, 2012 3:34:33 PM

  10. We can thank all those effeminate lisping queens who worship Lady Gaga for this. Football is a real man's sport and every time a diva-worshipping twink listens to Lady Gaga it makes it harder for gay men who play football because bigoted coaches aren't what keep those men in the closet, it's those stupid twinks who dance to pop music.

    Posted by: RICK | Mar 10, 2012 3:41:42 PM

  11. It's always tough to balance a person's right to freely express his opinion against a person's right to express bigotry. Bigotry, of course, is repellent whether conveyed with a smile or a scowl. But, obviously, a line is crossed when the rhetoric becomes insulting or overtly hateful. In this case, I think the Nebraska assistant was simply parroting the benighted views of his strain of Christianity -- and, in normal circumstances, a verbal version of an eye-roll by the councilmen would have sufficed as a response. But where Brown erred, I think, was by essentially stating that he's a football coach at a public university -- he gave his address, as I understood it, as the football stadium. There's a difference between a private citizen and a public figure (which Nebraska coaches are), and he deserves to be reprimanded for blurring that distinction.

    Posted by: Chris Simmons | Mar 10, 2012 3:42:06 PM

  12. It's University of Nebraska, not Nebraska State.

    Posted by: bravo | Mar 10, 2012 4:04:25 PM

  13. Does Ron Brown have a right to express his bigotry in public? Of course he does! But he should be closely monitored on his job to be sure his pathetically sick & disruptive beliefs do not interfere with the rights of students he supervises to achieve their educational goals. The university may soon learn that he is an atavistic embarrassment, and will cost them dearly in alumni contributions.

    Posted by: My 2cents | Mar 10, 2012 4:26:29 PM

  14. Methink she doth protest too much. Of self-loathing closeted gays, aging gay DL jocks loathe themselves the most loudly. She's not kidding, Jerry Penn State's address was the Stadium, too.

    Posted by: Lee chevalier | Mar 10, 2012 4:41:32 PM

  15. wow he is dumb.

    also: he is muscular and has a fine muscle ass. that is all.

    he should stick w/ his strengths: showing off his fine body instead of his alleged wisdowm on matters of civil rights.

    Posted by: redball | Mar 10, 2012 5:21:36 PM

  16. That shirt is so gay.

    Posted by: mike | Mar 10, 2012 5:26:14 PM

  17. Double standard prevails. Had he commented similarly along racial lines he'd be fired.

    Posted by: Clark | Mar 10, 2012 6:31:03 PM

  18. Osborne DOES agree with Brown. When Osborne was Nebraska's representative in the House of Representatives, he co-sponsored the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Osborne and Brown are completely on the same page.

    Posted by: CJS | Mar 10, 2012 6:47:44 PM

  19. looks like he's got a nice ass

    just saying

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 10, 2012 7:08:13 PM

  20. He's so hot. That's all.

    Posted by: Ty | Mar 10, 2012 8:41:40 PM

  21. He's got a BIG, FAT ass. Isn't that the kind black women go for, or is it the other way 'round? What's that old saying- the bigger the cushion, the deeper the pushin'?

    Posted by: Just sayin' | Mar 10, 2012 9:45:11 PM

  22. Good job everyone for ignoring Rick!!!
    O his mouth makes him one ugly bastard, I wouldnt do him

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Mar 10, 2012 11:27:46 PM

  23. Dictionary.com defines sodomy first as "anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex." So what does this proposal have to do with that?

    Posted by: Alan | Mar 10, 2012 11:56:39 PM

  24. Sometimes it is the problem when our society is very free to express themselves but the other side they dont know that they already hurting others.

    Posted by: zeia | Mar 11, 2012 12:50:44 AM

  25. Yah i agree. Because of too much leeway even there is a law about this, it seems that they don want to follow and obey.

    Posted by: Nathadale | Mar 11, 2012 12:53:02 AM

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