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Thread: Concerns for gay athletes at Rutgers

  1. #1

    Concerns for gay athletes at Rutgers

    U. sets climate for gay athletes

    By John Koblin / Staff Writer
    Published: 11/30/2004 Daily Targum

    For the past two months, various athletes, coaches, administrators, authors and teachers inside and outside the University were contacted on the topic of sport and sexuality. The conversations focused on homophobia in today's sports climate and examined Rutgers as a case study.

    Officials within the Rutgers Athletic Department said they do not believe homophobia exists in their department. They believe an atmosphere exists where gay athletes can feel free to come forward if they have a problem.

    But has the administration done enough to make sure that claim is true?



    The Sports Culture: "It's assumed everyone is

    heterosexual." Homophobia - Not a

    Rutgers Problem?

    The University's Athletic Department believes a student-athlete in a situation like this has plenty of options.

    "Students have been told they have an open door to my office if they have a problem," Rutgers Athletic Director Robert E. Mulcahy III said. "Secondly, we have a psychologist available to all our students for any kind of problems."

    While officials claim the athletic department welcomes any student-athlete to come through its doors, they insist it is ultimately the athlete's prerogative to come forward.

    "We're not here to counsel people," Associate Athletic Director Kathleen Hickey said. "We're here to help people find counseling. There are resources on this campus, and there are open doors in this athletic department."

    But no gay or bisexual student-athletes have come through these doors. The Athletic Department has said it has not heard of any problems with gay athletes other than domestic relationship disputes.

    But does a lack of complaints signify that a problem exists? To Griffin, if an athletic department claims it has never been approached with an issue, that is a troubling sign.

    "Silence certainly doesn't indicate that things are rosy," she said.

    Griffin believes athletic departments need to be proactive when dealing with homophobia. To her, having an open door policy, like the one at the University, is not enough.

    "It places all the responsibility on individuals who are already threatened to call attention to the problem," she said. The Rutgers Policy - Handling the Issue on

    Their Own

    Lauren Costello, the former director of athletic medicine at Princeton University, feels athletic departments have to stay away from reactive policies, which wait for an athlete to make the first move or wait for a problem to arise.

    "I understand many athletic departments endorse this policy, and I feel this is the wrong policy," said Costello, who served on a panel for the Gay & Lesbian Athletics Foundation. "An athletic department must be putting their head in the sand because certainly they have gay athletes, they just don't know about them. They have not created an open environment to allow these gay athletes to be known."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cspine's Avatar
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    "An athletic department must be putting their head in the sand because certainly they have gay athletes, they just don't know about them. They have not created an open environment to allow these gay athletes to be known."
    what, should they wear little rainbow badges or something? athletes gay or straight want to be known for their athletic ability, not the gender of their lover. this is offensive.

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  3. #3
    Cspine, what about a athlete who is not in the closet anymore? How would he be received by the coaches and the team.

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    Senior Member Cspine's Avatar
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    uh, like any other athlete. why would a coach care who an athlete plugs on his own time?

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  5. #5
    Same article continued Source

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    The issue of homophobia is not a top priority for the University's Athletic Department. In fact, when asked where preventing homophobia ranks in comparison to other issues, Athletic Director Robert E. Mulcahy III did not have a definitive answer.

    "It's probably way down the list," Mulcahy said.

    But for a diversity conference that seemed to represent such an open step toward addressing homophobia within the Athletic Department, it has also left some people inside and outside the University scratching their heads.

    The training was not mandatory but voluntary. The department would not reveal the number of coaches who attended the training, but one coach described the turnout as "pretty weak." Griffin has spoken at mandatory conferences for teams in Division I leagues like the Ivy League, Southeastern Conference, Big Ten and Pacific-10. The University meeting being voluntary was an exception, she said.

    Mark Schuster, an assistant dean for Student Services at the University who teaches a course on sport and sexuality, echoed some of these sentiments.
    Cheryl Clarke, the director of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Concerns at the University, agreed.

    "Coaches of the major male sports were missing," she said. "That shows you how resistant they are. That shows you how resistant that area is to opening up. Athletics is very resistant to opening up to sexual differences."

    The Athletic Department denied interview requests for Greg Schiano, the Rutgers football head coach, and Gary Waters, the men's basketball head coach. An Athletic Department spokesperson said speaking with either coach while their sports are in season "would just place too much of a time demand on their schedules."
    The NCAA - Collecting Information for a New Arena

    Because not enough research has been done on homophobia in sports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is beginning to take some steps in addressing the issue.

    "We believe that homophobia does raise health and safety concerns for students," said Mary Wilfert, the NCAA's assistant director of Education Outreach. "And we believe that homophobia certainly exists within the athletics culture. But we don't have good data on it yet, so we are in the middle of looking at how to go about collecting that data."

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    "We believe that homophobia does raise health and safety concerns for students," said Mary Wilfert, the NCAA's assistant director of Education Outreach. "And we believe that homophobia certainly exists within the athletics culture. But we don't have good data on it yet, so we are in the middle of looking at how to go about collecting that data."
    I wonder what health concerns she was talking about, could she have meant the fear that AB athletes could contact AIDS from a gay athlete?

    In any event if you are gay or chose polynesian dance or paintball at Rutgers you get more respect than those that are in wheelchairs.

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