Media Reports Anti-Gay Slur Issued by Football Coach

July 31, 2009
University of Hawaii Football Coach Greg McMackin

University of Hawaii Football Coach Greg McMackin

On Thursday second-year University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin apologized for repeatedly using an anti-gay word to describe a pre-game dance the University of Notre Dame football players performed before the Aloha Bowl last December. McMackin made the remarks while speaking to reporters at a media briefing at the Western Athletic Conference football preview in Salt Lake City. According to published reports, McMackin said:

“I know most of the coaches in the country are rooting for us to beat Notre Dame,” McMackin said. “Charlie gives this talk, ‘We do something special at Notre Dame,’ and (the players) get up and they do this little cheer ... this little fa**ot dance.”

Shortly thereafter, McMackin backtracked and asked the journalists in the room not to report on what he said:

"Don't write that 'fa**ot' down. I was misquoted," he said. "Just please … cover for me," McMackin said Thursday. "Go ahead, say ‘fa**ot dance.’ No. Please cover for me on that, too — right Karl [Benson, the WAC commissioner]? I’ll deny it. Anything else?"

About fifteen minutes after McMackin left the press conference area he came back to apologize for the use of the slur. Despite asking the press not to report on the issue, many did. While some reported the basic facts of the case, others used it as an opportunity to explain why that kind of language has no place in any forum. Tiffany Edwards, of the Hawaiian Beacon, wrote that McMackin probably used it (as others do) to get a laugh.

The thing is, this is our University of Hawaii football coach. He’s a role model, who, up until today, was so esteemed he was given more annual pay than our governor.  If he is speaking like this at a WAC conference, imagine how he is talking with the football players in the locker room.  Having reported on one of the most heinous crimes against gays, the beating death of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in 1998, I really don’t have very much tolerance for any slur that perpetuates hate.

McMackin again apologized through official channels and issued a statement through the University of Hawaii:

"I sincerely apologize for the inappropriate words that I used," he said in the statement. "My comments were out of character and I have no prejudices against anyone. I'm really upset with myself and I'm truly sorry for my remarks."

Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen

Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen

Although anti-gay slurs used in the world of sports is not uncommon, it’s encouraging to see more journalists report on it.  In June, 2006 Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen called then-Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti, “a fu**ing f*g” in front of members of the press. Greg Couch, also of the Chicago Sun-Times, witnessed the tirade and reported. Shortly after he was interviewed by AfterElton and said he was amazed that others did not write about the incident. The University of Hawaii has not announced if it will penalize McMackin. If you wish to send your thoughts, you can contact the University of Hawaii’s Athletic Director Jim Donovan at (808) 956-7301 or