Colorado State assistant Greg Lupfer has been suspended two weeks without pay and will be forced to complete anger management classes and diversity training as a result of his run-in with Connor Halliday during the New Mexico Bowl. During the first quarter of Saturday's game, Lupfer got into it with Halliday on the Colorado State sideline, and could be seen mouthing what appeared to be obscenities and an anti-gay slur -- "f--king f--got" -- at the Washington State quarterback.
If you missed it, the incident can be seen here:
Lupfter did, in fact, use a slur and admitted it in a statement (via the Denver Post):
"I accept these consequences - two weeks without pay and the training programs - and I am thankful for this second chance to continue coaching at Colorado State and be a part of the Ram Family," Lupfer said in a statement. "I am deeply sorry for my behavior, which does not represent who I am or my values. I embrace the opportunity to participate in anger management and diversity sensitivity training. I was angry and careless with my words, and my words hurt many people. I sincerely apologize to the GLBTQ community for causing pain by using a slur without considering its meaning. I take ownership of my words and fully understand why people are very upset."
The suspension comes during a recruiting dead period, which ends on January 15th, meaning Lupfer won't miss time on the road. Essentially, the suspension itself means nothing more than a missed paycheck. In this case, Lupfer's use of a slur will cost him about $5,800, or 3.8 percent of his $150,000 annual salary. It's a slap on the wrist considering what he said, and that he engaged a player from the opposing team before using a slur.
In pretty much all work environments, saying what Lupfer said is a fireable offense. But this is football, a sport where colorful language is accepted and expected. Should Lupfer have been fired for saying what he said -- and getting caught doing it -- to Halliday during a game? Maybe. But at the very least, losing just one paycheck for doing what he feels like a weak statement by Colorado State. Maybe he'll learn a very important lesson from all this. But in this case, the punishment falls well short of fitting the crime
To head off a few reactions I've already seen, the use of this word is never acceptable. It's not just another word, and being offended by its use does not make one a sissy or the PC police. Having a problem with an assistant coach calling an opposing player such a hateful word is not just another example of America becoming too sensitive.
The use of the word f--got is unacceptable in any setting. Period. That Lupfer used it in the heat of the moment doesn't excuse a damn thing. It's not all right in my workplace, it's not all right in yours, it's not all right in public … it's just not right ever. If I used that word in a work setting, I'd be fired immediately. It's a very powerful word used to demean a group of people and is, simply, a hateful term that has no business coming out of people's mouths. Using the "words can't hurt" defense here is simply out of touch. Don't be that person.
Lupfer claimed to not consider the word's meaning. So hopefully he gets educated as a result of this incident. And then never, ever uses that word again.
I also want to note that Lupfer hasn't apologized, at least publicly from what I've seen, to Connor Halliday. He apologized to Colorado State and its fans, for his behavior, and to the GLBTQ community … but not the guy he yelled at. That'd be a good start.