The University should be ready for gay athletes

 

University of Minnesota athletics director Norwood Teague was interviewed March 1 by Dan Barreiro on KFAN sports radio. The first question was about whether sports teams are “ready” for an openly gay athlete. Seemingly uncomfortable and unprepared, Teague said, “I don’t know.” He was allowed several subsequent opportunities to announce his support for an out athlete.

He said nothing.

Teague should understand that the days of a powerful leader in athletics dodging this issue are over. His salary is publicly funded by citizens of all demographics, including gay people. As such, it is his job to be “ready” for an openly gay athlete. It is his professional and moral responsibility to communicate that all qualified athletes are welcome at the University and that he will work to ensure that a gay athlete is treated with dignity and respect.

Perhaps Teague should seek guidance on this issue from Gophers basketball player Trevor Mbakwe, whose heartfelt and impassioned support for gay marriage made clear that he would treat a gay teammate exactly the way he would want to be treated: as a teammate. At half of Teague’s age, Mbakwe demonstrated twice the respect, leadership and human decency.

Teague’s insensitive response only serves tofurther discomfort gay athletes who simply want to do what the University should encourage: for all students to discover and live their truth.