Sadly for UH, this story will have legs

July 30th, 2009
By

Greg McMackin’s terrible choice of words today at the WAC football preseason media meetings will resonate far beyond Salt Lake City, the Western Athletic Conference, and, perhaps, college football. And in this case, the old one about any publicity being good publicity is not true.

The story will be repeated in many places because it is Notre Dame football — merely the most storied and well-known college sports program in the world —  whose dance/chant McMackin made fun of with a slur related to sexual orientation.

Also, with this being a dead time for sports talk, national radio and TV hosts will gleefully grab on to this one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it become fodder for the late night network variety talk show hosts, too.

I spoke with athletic director Jim Donovan today. He refused to comment on any possible disciplinary action citing privacy laws applicable to personnel issues. He did indicate that at this time, McMackin is still running the UH football program. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a couple of unpaid days off in the near future, though.

The coach, at the very least, will be expected to “make amends” to those he may have offended, Donovan said.

There will be people who call for a suspension at least, and there will be people who call for his resignation or firing. And this is bad whenever, but horrible timing now — McMackin just added to his work and stress load just a few days before the start of fall camp. Assuming he is not suspended or fired, at the very least he has a huge distraction with which to deal.

Other than Donovan calling the Bobby Curran Show to get ahead of the situation (repeatedly referring to McMackin’s “stupid” comments), early attempts at damage control failed miserably. McMackin apologized profusely but ineptly, botching it by asking reporters with tape recorders running to not attribute the offensive word to him. From transcriptions of what he said, it sounds like he tried to ad lib his apology. He should’ve been reading from a carefully worded statement crafted by UH and WAC media relations personnel.

By the way, scrap the ha’a/haka already. It’s proven to be more trouble than it’s worth. Focus on playing winning football, make that a UH “tradition.”

-By Dave Reardon

63 Responses to “Sadly for UH, this story will have legs”

  1. VolcanoLava:

    “Stick and Stones will break my Bones, but words will never hurt me.” You fall in football and you get up. You get banged up and you keep playing through the pain. If they want something out of Mack, drop the gloves and sign up for a rematch minus the haka and jokes and “Let’s play f’ball”.


  2. Warrior Dave:

    Spot on Dave…

    So sad but true. Once its out of your mouth you’ll never be able to take it back. Most of us should leave comedy for the comedians. Lots of fans thought that JJ was abrupt with his answers during interviews. I guess thats a lesson for many to learn. Sometimes the less said the better…

    Hope the healing can begin and the distraction will disappear in a few days and not have any lingering effect for this upcoming season.


  3. Terry Schafer:

    The fact of the matter is that Greg McMackin now has to be fired or else he will tarnish the reputation of the University. Anything less operates as a near-endorsement of his conduct. What’s sad is that I KNOW he does not speak for the overwhelming majority of people in Hawaii or at the university.


  4. Helen:

    The highest paid public employee in the state can’t even speak for thirty minutes without screwing up very badly.

    If the state wants to help out its budget, fire him and get back the 4.4 milion dollars for the next four years. Then just hire some jr. high coach who is about to lose his job for a pittance.

    He was crucified on ESPNs PTI. Lose him.


  5. Aunty Lulu:

    I’m not having any problem with what he said he was talking about a dance and reading the responses from WAC fans around the league in forums like this one he seems to have overwhelming support . It seems like once again it’s the press making the big deal about it.Offending gays …please.


  6. Manoa Mist:

    Just got word that Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno is heading for UH’s football practice, and he’s planning to ask coach to spend a romantic evening out on the town with him.
    This is so unfortunate, because Mack comes off as a hater, and he was just trying to be funny. He’s still one of the finest men I’ve seen in college sports. But today, he was a true knucklehead.
    And how do you punk Notre Dame after they just not only kicked, but mutilated your butt? I think if they smoke you, you’re supposed to respect ‘em.
    Mama said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this my mama said.


  7. Jasmine:

    While it is true that this high profile coach used a bad choice of words and this will probably resonate, how many of use have not said something we regretted later, something that may have hurt someone. I think that everyone, media included, is making this a more bigger deal that it is just because he happens to be a popular coach. Yes, he needs to be more aware of who he is and carefully choose his words, but it is not as if he called someone a f—–g c–t, which would have really been bad. Like he said in his attempts to be funny, it backfired on him, but he wasn’t using the term maliciously. So I think we need to not be so sensitive and move on already. The gays are upset because he apologized to Notre Dame but not them but he wasn’t addressing them. While he used a term distasteful to them, he was not denigrating them personally.


  8. Sickman Fraud:

    What an idiotic comment from Hawaii’s highest paid employee. Does Coach Mac have a brain, outside of football? Will it have an impact on Warrior football? Sure it will, I’m willing to bet the Coach’s Show with Chun will be cancelled by the ESPN. Great exposure now gone because we have a coach that has been exposed as a homophobic.


  9. Wayne O.:

    I’m disappointed in Jim Donovan. In a time when Coach Mac needs some support, Donovan is seems to be putting him under the bus. Some boss. I don’t like the way
    Donovan calling Mac saying “stupid” comments. It was certainly unfortunate what Coach Mac said, but I can relate to people saying some stuff that you wish you could take it back. McMackin is not stupid. How would you feel if somebody called you stupid.
    In a time when Coach Mac feels terrible we should be coming to help and support him, not to condemn him. He is my head coach, our head coach. At this point in time, I have not respect for Jim Donovan. I think he’s only looking out for himself. I believe in Coach Mac and he’s a true good human being.


  10. Maumutt:

    Support Coach Mac? Are you folks serious? Oh wait, it’s that fake aloha spirit, right? Everyone is welcome no matter who. Yeah, right, unless you’re gay or non-local. I wonder if you folks would support this very ignorant individual if he used a derogatory term for the “native” locals?

    Sorry, but his word choice was not a “mistake”. Honest, educated, and accepting folks don’t have the “F” word or the “N” word in their vocabulary or their hearts and thus can’t make those “mistakes”. Send this biggot packing. UH can do a lot better than this fool. He’s as homophobic as June Jones..there’s another gem of an individual. Quits UH and then sues them to get salary he forfeited by quitting. Time for UH to set its’ sights a lot higher to attract real men as coaches and leaders for our youth. Auwe to this individual for bringing shame to UH and Hawaii.


  11. kev-1:

    Definitely wrong for Mac to say that. In today’s society, those types of references should not be made. However, if you listen to the audio, the media (audience) is cracking up! If the whole room thought is was so funny, why didn’t they “cover for him” as he asked? Everyone in that room knew Coach Mac was trying to be funny and not offensive, and they thought it was funny.

    Unfortunately, Dave is right. This one is going to sting for a long time.


  12. Travo:

    Scrap the Ha’a? Are you serious? I highly doubt performing the Ha’a has an impact on the season’s win/loss column. But if it did, its something the players want to do and they bond through it, so it would only make the team stronger. Dave, what you got against the Ha’a?


  13. dreardon:

    Waste of energy better used in the game. Do it after the game if you want. Use the ha’a practice time for more work on blocking and other fundamentals, like not getting penalties.
    And this whole ridiculous episode stems from McMackin telling a story about how the ha’a fired up Notre Dame. Second time UH lost a bowl game at the banquet.
    Unsportsmanlike penalty at LaTech.


  14. agnes pagan:

    Its too bad about all this because coach has been so good for the program and he has had such a good relationship will his players this will really take away with all that he has been trying to do for the U. H football program>>>>>


  15. agnes pagan:

    thats all I have to say I hope the football team has a spectacular football season this year. My son is gay so I sent him a copy of this article. I think the coach did not really meant to ofend any group he said those comment with out thinking god knows we have made comment we wish we could take bad amen>>>>


  16. 808 Warrior:

    Time to give it a rest already. How can you judge someone for one comment ? It’s like reading just one page in a book and thinking you know the whole story. Mac is a good man. We’ve all made made mistakes and said “stupid” things. Time to move on. And Dave, sorry but I agree with Travo, keep the haka going.


  17. Manoa Mist:

    Have to agree with Dave on the haka or ha’a or whatever. The point of the dance is to intimidate your opponent. It’s “I’m not scared of you, and if you want some, come here and you’re going to get some.” It’s great drama, but it is taunting, and the NCAA does not allow a team to perform this dance facing the opponent. So, Hawaii does it facing the crowd. The point of the dance is not to intimidate the crowd! So, really, there is no point when the dance’s purpose has been banned by the NCAA.
    Hey, if you wanna do it at practice, like a warmup to get in the mood to hit somebody, to reflect the cultural history of the state you are representing, then fine. Otherwise, forget it.
    Just my opinion. Peace out.


  18. roygbivfan:

    this was more than a foot in the mouth comment. he put both feet in his mouth and fell flat on his face. the macho-jock mentality caught up with him.

    if greg banned the “30-pt” rule, he should ban the haka.


  19. Robin:

    I agree with Dave on the ha’a. But either way no big deal. Personally I don’t think it’s all that cool (you won’t find me among the crowd hooting approval when they do it). As for the reasoning of getting pumped for the game, I think all the players efforts to get out their under the lights and compete should provide more than enough motivation.


  20. kev-1:

    roygbivfan wrote

    “this was more than a foot in the mouth comment. he put both feet in his mouth and fell flat on his face. the macho-jock mentality caught up with him.”

    Give me a break. You are speaking as someone who was obviously offended by his stupid remark, but obviously no nothing about Coach Mac. The man apologized for his actions, in a very heartfelt way I might add, and you feel like it is a good time to throw dirt around. It is definitely not okay to simply dismiss coaches actions as if they were minor, because they werent. But the UH has acted swiftly and fairly tough. Compare this penalty to other incidents around the country and I’m sure you’ll find this to be rather harsh.

    It’s definitely not time to jump on the hate wagon and start boasting that some jock just fell flat on his face. You obviously have different issues with “jocks.” It is obvious that malicious intent was not part of Coach Mac’s comments, UNLIKE YOURS!


  21. Pablo Wegesend:

    Some want to get rid of the ha’a?

    Are you nuts?!

    The ha’a is the coolest tradition in all of college sports!

    The younger generation can’t wait to become UH football players so they can be one of the guys doing the ha’a on the field at Aloha Stadium!

    ANd people are proposing that we take that chance away from the younger generation?

    Those who don’t like the ha’a are free to move to Boise, Fresno, Reno, Ruston or any other enemy territories!


  22. Pablo Wegesend:

    dreardon Says: “Waste of energy better used in the game. Do it after the game if you want. Use the ha’a practice time for more work on blocking and other fundamentals, like not getting penalties.”

    Anyone still remember the 12-0 regular season? UH did the ha’a before every game!

    Keep the ha’a! Step up our game! Then the coolest moment in UH football’s future would be the ha’a right before winning our next BCS game! Our younger generation of footballers are looking forward to doing that!


  23. ChiTown Warrior:

    While Mac made a big mistake & clumsy effort to cover it up, he did apologize and was very remorseful for his actions. Its to bad the Star Bulletin and other media outlets jumped on this story like the man committed a criminal act ! Shame on you Mr. Reardon for allowing your newspaper to print the picture of Mac with a zipper on his mouth and your silly story about stopping the team from doing its dance. What’s next… stop pep rallys. Cheerleaders ? It seems there are plenty of HATERS out there who have no clue who Greg MacMackin is and could care less about UH football.

    Have any of you ever said something stupid ( maybe hurtful ) and out of character? I sure have and I’m not proud of those times. Take a look in the mirror before you lay blame on others.

    I’m still BACKIN MACMACKIN !


  24. Robin:

    Those who don’t like the ha’a are free to move to Boise, Fresno, Reno, Ruston or any other enemy territories!

    Strong words for those who don’t agree with what not close to everyone who thinks it is ‘so cool’. MANY I know are indifferent to it or don’t care for it. Doesn’t make them any less supporters of the program.

    Anyone still remember the 12-0 regular season? UH did the ha’a before every game!

    The team also danced before the Sugar and Hawaii Bowls, both blowouts. The 12-0 season was attained with one of the easiest schedules in the NCAA that year. BARELY beat San Jose St.,LA Tech, and Nevada on the road, as well as PAC-10 doormat Washington at home. Recently on ESPN 1420, Bobby Curran said that Colt felt that the year before was the better team, with Nate, Reagan, Samson, Dane, Peters & others.


  25. roygbivfan:

    kev-1 wrote

    “Give me a break. You are speaking as someone who was obviously offended by his stupid remark, but obviously no nothing about Coach Mac. The man apologized for his actions, in a very heartfelt way I might add, and you feel like it is a good time to throw dirt around. It is definitely not okay to simply dismiss coaches actions as if they were minor, because they werent. But the UH has acted swiftly and fairly tough. Compare this penalty to other incidents around the country and I’m sure you’ll find this to be rather harsh.

    It’s definitely not time to jump on the hate wagon and start boasting that some jock just fell flat on his face. You obviously have different issues with “jocks.” It is obvious that malicious intent was not part of Coach Mac’s comments, UNLIKE YOURS!”

    dude, i posted that BEFORE mack had his newsconference in honolulu. his apology was sincere, heartfelt, and honest. i accept it and also wish to move on. in his newsconference at the wac tournament, he did stick both feet into his mouth and fell flat on his face, trying to get out of it; asking the reporters to give him a break also didn’t stand well with me. no maliciousness on my part, just stating my honest opinion, based on facts at the time.


  26. roygbivfan:

    kev-1,

    my “maliciousness” was echoed by dave reardon: “McMackin apologized profusely but ineptly, botching it by asking reporters with tape recorders running to not attribute the offensive word to him.” and stephen tsai reported that the laugh heard in the audiotape of the conference was a nervous laughter, like “i can’t believe he said it–again”. if, as you contend that the media knew he as joking, why DIDN’T they hold back the story?


  27. Pablo Wegesend:

    The team also danced before the Sugar and Hawaii Bowls, both blowouts. The 12-0 season was attained with one of the easiest schedules in the NCAA that year. BARELY beat San Jose St.,LA Tech, and Nevada on the road, as well as PAC-10 doormat Washington at home. Recently on ESPN 1420, Bobby Curran said that Colt felt that the year before was the better team, with Nate, Reagan, Samson, Dane, Peters & others.

    Some ha’a haters claimed the ha’a contributed to some UH loses! I reminded the haters that the ha’a was also performed during our 12-0 victories as well!

    As for the 2006 season, (the one w/ Nate, Reagan, Samson, Dane & Peters) that team also did the ha’a before the games!

    My whole point was “let’s keep the ha’a tradition going!” A lot of people love it, the younger generation dream of one doing it as a future UH Warrior!


  28. Robin:

    I don’t think the ha’a had (or will) have any significant (if any) effect either way to the outcome on the scoreboard of games. That was my point. On the few occasions that I was at my seat early enough to see it, MANY (A LARGE %) fans apparently make no special effort to view it, as they are still tailgating (I say most students take an extra beer over running over themselves to watch it) and in the concourse area talking story or getting food. From my view, the dance is so extremely loved by the same type of people who get all excited when their high school’s drum major does a fancy march and salute routine to begin their performance- its just showmanship.


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