Greg McMackin, the coach of the University of Hawaii football team, was reprimanded by the Western Athletic Conference for repeatedly using the F-word in front of about a dozen reporters—and then asking them not to report that he used that word—in describing an incident by the University of Notre Dame team before the Hawaii Bowl last year, which Notre Dame won 49-21 against Hawaii.
McMackin said that Notre Dame team members did “this little faggot dance” at a banquet the night before the game. He ordered his team to respond with a dance of their own, which he believes gave Notre Dame too much inspiration since Hawaii lost the game. Click here to listen to audio of McMackin’s original comments.
His punishment? A 30-day suspension without pay, a salary cut of 7 percent and working on an LGBT-related public service announcement.
Watch McMackin apologize again after his reprimand (he had previously given an apology on camera):
This is the money quote for me from the above apology by McMackin:
“I’ve offended the gay and lesbian community and now I want to work with the LGBT community on campus to use this as a teachable moment for me and hopefully others.”
It seems that the LGBT community finally may have a “teachable moment” akin to the recent one cited by President Obama in reference to the arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates, an African American, by a white police officer. In an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, columnist Jon Carroll concurs.
But what exactly is the “teachable moment”? ESPN The Magazine senior writer and NLGJA member LZ Granderson put it this way:
“You can hear the outburst of laughter from some of the media members in the room each time he drops the slur … The people in the room who egged him on with their laughter are the real story. A room full of educated, supposedly sensitivity-trained media professionals taking delight in McMackin’s slurs. If I were him, I would have noted the laughter in the room during my apology, because if I’m going to be labeled homophobic by members of the press, I’m taking some of them down with me …
“If any of my peers are sincerely outraged about McMackin’s remarks, then the next time you hear something similar — be it in your professional or personal life — don’t just go along to get along. Step up and challenge it. Because I guarantee if the overall reaction in the room had been one of shock, not laughter, McMackin wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to keep repeating the slur.”
If some heterosexual reporters believe it’s OK to laugh along with interviewees using anti-LGBT slurs, then I believe it’s reasonable to question the ability of those reporters to write fairly and accurately about LGBT issues.