Tuesday, August 4, 2009


NEW DOG, SAME TIRED OLD TRICK: While many- especially the Honolulu press- seem to think that the slap on the wrist that University of Hawai`i (UH) football coach Greg McMackin received for referring to a Notre Dame team’s “little faggot dance” makes the incident “over” it certainly isn’t for long-memoried fans who miss their UH Rainbows.

They know this isn’t the first incident in the long standing- and still apparently rampant- homophobia in the UH football program that is not just tolerated but apparently promulgated from the top down by UH coaches.

Many of us remember well the early pre-brain damage years of Coach June Jones and his wink-nod elbow-in-the-ribs childishness in banishment of the beloved team name “Rainbows” because, he said, mainland teams “teased” his supposedly adult players because the rainbow was also the adopted symbol of the gay rights movement.

That was the day when many of we UH system alumni refused to financially support the UH football program any more.

We’re proud to say we haven’t purchased any of that ugly Warrior merchandise with big “H for Homophobia” as many of us call it and we still wear our old Rainbow gear proudly.

McMackin’s remarks indicate that, despite strides in society- some actuarial- that have resulted in a majority tolerance if not the embracing of those of a different gender identity, the perpetuation of the immature attitudes that tend to become imbedded in male sports programs without intervention of an older wiser and more enlightened coach, are alive and well at UH.

As co-chairs of the Family Equality Coalition Paul Gracie and Tambry Young are quoted as saying in Derrick DePledge’s blog today:

No one would have laughed (as reported did at McMackin’s remark) if he had used a slur against a race, religion or gender," said Tambry Young, Family Equality Coalition Co-Chair. "It is common with our young people -- especially on the athletic field - to shout 'faggot,' 'sissy' and 'you hit like a girl.' These are hurtful, shameful, verbal assaults that can no longer be accepted in silence.

Our 12 year old grandson started Pop Warner football yesterday and these kids certainly look up to the UH players and coaches, especially McMackin who just appeared last month at a local “clinic” for the same kids who play.

It’s hard enough to instill good values in our kids without loudmouth bigots in positions they look up to.

What message does it give that McMackin’s punishment- a fine and supposedly a forced pubic service announcement to come- has no apparent nexus with any modification of the behavior McMackin has obviously been engaging in, unless one accepts the disingenuous premise that this was some kind of isolated incident or a slip of the tongue.

It would be easy to called for any end to the McMackin era at UH. But a better outcome might be to say that if there is to be any change in the UH football program a good beginning might be a strong rejection of the attitude that led to the removal of the Rainbow logo under Jones and a proud reinstatement of the logo.

Though it would only be a start it would certainly go a long way toward rectifying the anachronistic playground taunts and attitudes that Gracie and Young point to- ones that apparently still permeate McMackin’s football program.

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