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• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud

Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Time For The Talking To Stop
August 6, 2009


Ah, finally... we're in August. NFL veterans are tearing ligaments, first round picks are signing contracts, and college football players are back in training. And that means coaches will coach instead of attending media days, or trying to come up with entertaining sound bites.

Of course, using the media is often part of coaching. Lane Kiffin's first few months at Tennessee have been far from uneventful, stoking controversy by suggesting Florida coach Urban Meyer cheats (a week before admitting to some minor infractions of his own), and reportedly suggesting a player would end up pumping gas if he chose South Carolina over Florida.

Such comments might be unwise in the short–term — some media folk are already circling Tennessee at Florida as one of the games of the season, regardless of the fact that it's going to be an ugly blowout. Longer–term, Kiffin knows what he's doing: he's getting Tennessee some attention.

Tennessee are also promoting Eric Berry as a Heisman candidate. Even though Berry is about to set a college record for interception return yardage, Berry is a safety — there's more chance of me winning a Pulitzer than Berry winning a Heisman [so I should place a bet on Berry now??? — ed]. But of course, a Heisman candidate, however much a long–shot, represents more attention for the program. Judging by the recruiting results, Kiffin's tactics are working just fine, with a top 20 ranking. Talk is cheap, but at least talk is cheap publicity.

Talk hasn't been cheap for Greg McMackin, however.

Hawaii coach McMackin recently commented on the performance of the Notre Dame chant as... well, he used an F word invariably used in a derogatory manner to describe gay men. All of it, all the way through both Gs to the T (you with me now? okay). Then, seeking to control any bad media coverage (wow, how could that possibly draw negative publicity?), he used it a couple more times (yeah, that'll work), maybe hoping to salvage some comedic effect.

I'm not sure I've ever heard that word used for comedic effect, to be honest.

I have, however, heard it used disparaging by big manly men describing men they consider to be less manly men, behavior that is entirely in–keeping with football locker rooms. But it doesn't translate so well out here in civilization. Out here, it's recognized as a hate word, and I'm pretty sure it isn't being used affectionately in the locker room, or at the post–game get–together at Hooters. I am simply astonished that McMackin — an experienced football coach — used that word in front of the media.

Did he forget that he works for an educational establishment? Did he overlook that, statistically speaking, there's likely hundreds of gay men in his stadium on Saturdays? Is he blind to the fact that — again, statistically speaking — he has, or has had, gay players on his own team, and will attempt to recruit a gay player at some point in the future?

Of course, they're unlikely to be openly gay. In the history of the NFL, only three ex–players have 'come out', the most recent being Esera Tuaolo, former Vikings nose tackle and nine–year veteran. While trying to keep his sexuality quiet, Tuaolo may not have played to his full ability. Tuaolo told Robert Lipsyte of the New York Times: "I was afraid if I was too much of a star, I'd be exposed. If I had a sack, I'd have a sleepless night".

If that's the effect on a homosexual player living around homophobic language, and in what at times appears a homophobic sports sub–culture, how could a gay player of (Hawaiian–born) Esera Tuaolo's quality respond to or respect McMackin as a coach, or to accept a scholarship to Hawaii? I suspect missing out on the talent pool of gay football players isn't the first consideration of most coaches, but if the coach represents the program, and the program represents the school, a socially inclusive school wasn't likely to be comfortable with that word.

After meeting with Athletic Director Jim Donovan and Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw last Friday, McMackin was suspended for 30 days without pay. He has also volunteered a 7 per cent pay cut — equivalent to around $170,000 — in what seems a compromise to save his job. Whether that amount is a ridiculous amount of money to surrender for the use of a inappropriate word, however inflammatory, or whether someone who uses such a word proves themselves to be unsuited to working in an educational institution, period, I'm not sure.

McMackin has 30 days of not being a head coach to think about things. When he returns, he'd better find the football redemption of a winning season — Hawaii were 7–7 in his first season since taking over from June Jones — or this incident could factor into a lot more days of not being a head coach.


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