Colorado State University suspended its defensive line coach, Greg Lupfer, after the coach used a gay slur during the team’s New Mexico Bowl win over the Washington State University.
When Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday came toward Colorado State’s sideline after throwing a touchdown pass in the first quarter, Lupfer called him a “faggot.” The incident was caught by a sideline camera. Colorado State investigated it after the game and suspended Lupfer for two weeks without pay. He will also undergo educational training centered on LGBT issues.
“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,” Lupfer said in a statement after the suspension was announced. “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.”
Lupfer is probably lucky to keep his job after resorting to gay slurs. Rutgers fired basketball coach Mike Rice in April after video surfaced of him physically and verbally abusing players — he also used gay slurs and went through training programs upon losing his job. Eastern Michigan football coach Ron English used a similar slur while yelling at his team during the 2013 season and was fired.
As far as sports have come on LGBT issues, incidents like this show there’s still a ways to go. One positive, though, is that administrations like Colorado State’s and leagues like the NBA and NFL no longer tolerate anti-gay behavior. As negative as Lupfer’s actions were, Colorado State’s move to quickly address it — and not just with a suspension but with educational training too — is positive, and a sign that while sports aren’t going to change overnight, they’re at least moving in the right direction in handling these incidents in a way that will hopefully one day get them out of sports altogether.