West Virginia Suspends Bob Huggins and Cuts His Pay Over Homophobic Slur
West Virginia University’s men’s basketball coach, Bob Huggins, has been suspended from the team for one game and his pay has been reduced after making a homophobic slur during a press conference. The university said in a statement Wednesday that Huggins “used unacceptable language that fails to represent the values of West Virginia University and our athletic department.”
The slur was directed at a reporter who had asked Huggins about the team’s performance in a recent game. The coach responded by saying, “We didn’t shoot the ball well because my f****t nephew was in the gym.” Huggins apologized for the remark in a subsequent statement, calling it “a poor choice of words.” However, the university deemed the comment to be a violation of its policies on discrimination and harassment.
As part of his discipline, Huggins will be required to complete a program of sensitivity training and make a public apology. He will also be prohibited from participating in any media appearances for the next two weeks. The university has not disclosed the amount by which Huggins’ pay will be reduced.
Huggins has been the head coach at West Virginia since 2007 and has a career record of 917-392 in 40 seasons of coaching. He has led the Mountaineers to two Final Fours and one National Championship game, but he has also been known for his fiery temper and controversial remarks.
The incident has drawn criticism from LGBTQ rights groups and others, who have called for Huggins’ suspension and for the university to take stronger action against discrimination. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, who is also the university’s Board of Governors chairman, said in a statement that the comment was “not acceptable in any way, shape, or form” and that the university would “take swift action to address this situation.”
In recent years, there has been increased scrutiny of language and behavior that is deemed to be discriminatory or offensive in the sports world. Many leagues and organizations have implemented policies to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, and several prominent athletes and coaches have faced consequences for their actions. The incident involving Huggins is the latest example of the ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive and respectful culture in sports.