There is still a long way to go for gay athletes both professionally and in both high school and collegian sports. Although there is more of a conscious effort to provide comfortable atmospheres for gay athletes, there comes a reminder of the heightened need for sensitivity training for athletes and on the management level. Such an incident occurred recently when Colorado State football defensive line coach, Greg Lupfer, used a gay slur during the New Mexico Bowl. As Think Progress reports on Dec. 27, the coach was suspended by the school.
The incident was captured during the game when Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday approached the sideline of Colorado State after throwing a touchdown pass in the first quarter. Frustrated and caught up in the nature of the game, Lupfer called Halliday a “faggot.” Unfortunately for Greg Lupfer, the incident was caught on tape and led to an investigation and eventual suspension.
In this situation, the use of the gay slur wasn’t aimed at a gay player, but it demonstrated a lack of sensitivity or eve respect for players on either team who may be gay. As part of the suspension, Greg Lupfer will go two weeks without pay and will attend training programs including a educational program centered on LGBT issues.
Greg Lupfer accepted the consequences and released the following statement:
“I accept these consequences – two weeks without pay and the training programs – and I am thankful for this second chance to continue coaching at Colorado State and be a part of the Ram family. I am deeply sorry for my behavior, which does not represent who I am or my values. I embrace the opportunity to participate in anger management and diversity sensitivity training. I was angry and careless with my words, and my words hurt many people. I sincerely apologize to the GLBTQ community for causing pain by using a slur without considering its meaning. I take ownership of my words and fully understand why people are very upset.”
Although it is upsetting, an incident like this shows that there will be no tolerance for anti-gay behavior in sports on any level. It also provides education for Lupfer. Colorado State should be applauded for acting quickly on the situation and by doing so demonstrated to its athletics program that all will be accepted and is a continuance of their efforts to provide an atmosphere of inclusion.