April 07, 2007

Mizzou's Hawkins becomes first openly gay coach in NCAA: Does this take us one step closer to an openly gay pro athlete?

posted by olelefthander to culture at 12:44 PM - 22 comments

Absolutely it does. Every person in the athletic world who comes out sets an example for those who are still in as to how it'll be after they themselves come out. It will only help. It's clearly not easy yet, but every new person coming out will make it easier for the next one. His players sound like they've gone from ignorance to understanding (or at least attempted understanding) pretty quickly. No doubt, as high school jocks, most of them hadn't knowingly had to deal with an openly gay person before. It's good news that those who stayed with the program have picked it up so quickly. Good on the team for staying in his corner against the refs, opponents and fans who don't get it yet, and most of all, good on Hawkins for taking the big step. (I know it's 100% coincidence, but I find it curious that college lacrosse has become kind of a lightning rod for the social issues of our time lately.)

posted by chicobangs at 01:29 PM on April 07

I agree with you 100% Chico. I cannot comprehend the burden that has been lifted from his shoulders since he no longers has to worry or be secretive. All the better for his concentration on his coaching and getting on with his life. I am glad the team/school is standing behind him on this. It never fails to mystify me, the ill conceived notions that gays are sexual predators ( gays sharing a locker room with straights) or worse child molesters (can't have them teaching the kids ect). The only thing different about them is who they sleep with. And I am glad he has found someone.

posted by steelergirl at 06:26 PM on April 07

Oh it's Lacrosse I thought it was a high profile sport anyhow best of luck to him and I'm sure the weight of the world is off his shoulders

posted by luther70 at 07:07 PM on April 07

WHAT??? Is this guy going to be aloud to shower with the team as well??/sarcasm There it's been said! Now we can continue on topic. I'm not sure if I should call Coach Hawkins a hero? Great guy? Congratulations on coming out?? Why would I need to say anything to him about it? It's not going to change his situation or mine. I so look forward to/long for the day a persons lifestyle (race religion ....) is a non-issue. (I know, I'm a dreamer) We would talk about coach Hawkins win loss record, why he didnít call time out that last time down the floor.... and not: It never fails to mystify me the ill conceived notions that gays are sexual predators, ( gays sharing a locker room with straights) or worse child molesters (can't have them teaching the kids ect). The only thing different about them is who they sleep with. steelergirl I am not at all disagreeing or belittling your post so I will apologize in advance if my use of part of your comments as a way to emphasize my point.

posted by Folkways at 08:04 PM on April 07

Folkways, I hear ya, and one day no doubt it won't be an issue. However, right now it is. We'd be dishonest if we didn't acknowledge that in the here and now, there are consequences for a sports figure who comes out. The only way we'll get to that day you speak of is through actions such as Hawkins', so yeah, I guess I'd say he is something of a hero.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:30 PM on April 07

I really liked what he said about not needing to sit his team down and talk to them about his sexuality. I hadn't thought of the possible hurdle of biased (in more ways than one) officials before reading this. Guess I'm that naive.

posted by olelefthander at 09:25 PM on April 07

What about Pokey Chatman, the head coach of the LSU Tigers womens basketball team. From everything I read, it seems to be known that she is a gay woman. Is it more that it's the first time a gay male coach has come out? I hope one day this will not be a news item.

posted by tommytrump at 11:22 PM on April 07

Does Hawkins coming out take us a step toward an openly gay pro athlete? Sort of. Hawkins openness might affect the Big 12, the other schools his team competes against, and his region, but it's still a largely a game for high school and college students (I don't think lacrosse at Mizzou is a sponsored sport). If there is an openly gay athlete in Major League Lacrosse I haven't heard about it, but then, it's pretty low on the totem pole of pro sports. There are already openly gay female pro athletes -- it's the men in the big three male sports that aren't open about it yet. I don't think Hawkins has the pull to affect athletes in the big three. Now, if it were Bob Stoops or Mack Brown or Bob Knight, it might be a step. An even bigger step would be a top college player coming out. But Hawkins ... I see it more as one bubble in a pot of warming water. Someday it'll get there, but not anywhere close just yet.

posted by forrestv at 11:36 PM on April 07

Why is there a need for ANYONE to discuss their sexuality in a public formum? Is there some media circus if a person were to announce on tv that they are straight? Who cares...I'm not some sort of prude, nor am I going to opin on what may or may not be moralistic. Simply said, whatever consenting adults choose to do is their business-not mine, not yours, not the governments, and not the media. It should only become someone else's business when that person's actions affect your ability to earn a living or could possibly harm your family. Someone's homosexual lifestyle does not affect anyones finances nor their family's safety - so why broadcast it...there are much more important things occuring in our world; and in the sportsworld.

posted by FonGu at 06:05 AM on April 08

Wow! I mean, uhh, wow. Just wow. What, are you really suprised? See what I said to Folkways, above. Parents have been known to kick their own children out of the house when they find out that they're gay. People have been known to turn on friends they've known since childhood when they find out that they're gay. That's how accepted the bigotry is. It's changing, but it's a long, long way from changed.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:55 AM on April 08

FonGu: If only the world were that simple. I'm sure of he was outed by someone else, that's the exact attitude everyone would take, too. Hopefully I laid that sarcasm on thick enough. I never can tell.

posted by Adept at 08:56 AM on April 08

No offense taken, Folkways. My comments were prompted by the "...should gay coaches be allowed in the locker room with straight players..." I interpret that (perhaps wrongly) as some people think that a gay coach/player would be on the "prowl" in the locker room. And I was off topic with the child molester (can't have them teaching the children) comment. FonGu, I agree with you wholeheartedly. But until there is acceptance, this personal fact about a coach/player/public figure will always be news. nafsheihc, since you brought God into, there is that "Judge not, lest ye be judged" and that "Do unto others..." thing.

posted by steelergirl at 09:01 AM on April 08

Wow! I mean, uhh, wow. Just wow. What, are you really suprised? See what I said to Folkways, above. I guess I am surprised. I suppose I shouldn't be. I mean, I know ignorance exists, but still, that someone could spew vitriol like that. And since God has been brought into this, if I could expand on steelergirls comment " ...he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone...". Are we all not God's children?

posted by tommytrump at 11:11 AM on April 08

Are we all not God's children? Sure, until you do something I don't like, or don't agree with politically or socially; then your heretic, ungodly, unpatriotic ass is going straight to Hell.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 12:02 PM on April 08


posted by tommytrump at 12:14 PM on April 08

olelefthander, thanks for a thought-provoking post. It is difficult to comment on one of these, because it just isn't a simple matter. In summary, what coach Hawkins does in his bedroom is no business of mine nor anyone else's. I have a couple of coworkers whose sexuality I have wondered about for several years. Neither has ever given any hint of homosexuality, but neither has shown any interest in the opposite sex either. I suppose I shouldn't be wondering at all, but it is my nature. I admit the weakness, so we'll move on. What is important here is not whether either of these people is gay. What is important is that both are really good at their jobs. I work in a defense industry, and the products we make are used to protect the lives of aircrews. There is no room for incompetence or error. The better you are at your job, the more likely we are to deliver a product that works "first time, every time". So it seems to me that what is important about coach Hawkins is what sort of positive contribution he makes to the education of the young men he coaches. He sounds as if he is on the right track with his comment: "If there are a couple of kids who are shortsighted enough to make a decision to come here because of my sexuality, there are bound to be a couple of kids who have decided not to come here (because I'm gay)," he said. "That's just as shortsighted and stupid." I hope that Hawkins is able to continue his work.

posted by Howard_T at 12:50 PM on April 08

Fongu, if you read the post, he didn't go on tv and announce he was gay. He was open about it on a message board for gay athletes and coaches. Some reporters found it and it became common knowledge. In fact, I would repeat how much I liked his comment about not sitting his team down to discuss his sexuality because no straight coaches do that.

posted by olelefthander at 02:12 PM on April 08

I do not want to know about this and do not think it is appropriate to broadcast to the public. Why can't everyone keep their personal life private.

posted by longgreenline at 11:08 PM on April 08

longgreenline: Do you think it's inappropriate to publicly acknowledge the existence of one's opposite sex spouse? Most people wouldn't even blink, but if that spouse is the same sex it suddenly becomes inappropriate for public consumption.

posted by mullacc at 01:03 AM on April 09

Do you think it's inappropriate to publicly acknowledge the existence of one's opposite sex... Actually, I've having enough difficulty with the opposite sex publicly acknowledging my existence at all. (I am far too concerned with my own sex life to spare any extra brain space on others. But if it makes you feel better, go nuts.) Now let's hit the showers, guys.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:11 AM on April 09

I do not want to know about this and do not think it is appropriate to broadcast to the public. The comment above yours, which sat there for nearly a full nine hours before you made your comment, pointed out what you would have realized if you'd bothered to read the article: the coach did not announce he was gay. He identified himself on a message board for gay coaches and athletes. Somebody else broke the story. If you're going to take the time to post, kindly read the article first. Of course, in this case, actually paying attention to the comments before yours would have been helpful, too.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 11:22 AM on April 09

Yeah, TBH, but it's not nearly as much fun as shooting from the hip with some "If I don't want to see it, the world should censor itself so I don't have to see it," comment.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:33 PM on April 09

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