News (USA)

Basketball coach forced to take $1 million pay cut for anti-gay slur on live radio

Bob Huggins
Bob Huggins Photo: Shutterstock

West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins will take a million-dollar pay cut, a “significant” suspension, and sensitivity training as punishment for using anti-gay slurs during a radio interview earlier this week.

Huggins is expected to sign a new contract that will reduce his annual salary from $4.2 million to $3.2 million, ESPN reported. The terms of the new contract were decided upon by the university administration, the school’s board of trustees, and the athletic department.

While speaking on The Bill Cunningham Show on Newsradio 700 WLW, Huggins referred to fans of Catholic Xavier University as “Catholic f*gs.” During the broadcast, the show’s host accused the fans of being transgender and having penis envy.

Huggins later tweeted an apology which said, in part, “I used a completely insensitive and abhorrent phrase that there is simply no excuse for – and I won’t try to make one here. I deeply apologize to the individuals I have offended… As I have shared with my players over my 40 years of coaching, there are consequences for our words and actions, and I will fully accept [anything] coming my way. I am ashamed and embarrassed and heartbroken for those I have hurt. I must do better, and I will.”

Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of the LGBTQ+ sports website Outsports, called Huggins’s apology a “pretty meaningless statement that fails to mention the LGBTQ community.”

“Somewhere in Huggins’ mind, the way you most effectively attack people in your crosshairs is to call them gay slurs. We’re left wondering how often he uses the slur in his private life, or around his team,” Ziegler wrote. “It’s hard to figure out what kind of ‘sensitivity training’ will teach Huggins something he didn’t already know.”

Ziegler also expressed surprise at Huggins’s casual use of the slur, considering that the coach knows Thom Brennaman, a Fox Sports sportscaster who was fired in August 2020 for calling Kansas City “one of the f*g capitals of the world” during a live broadcast. Brennaman apologized during the broadcast, saying he was “deeply ashamed” of his comment and adding, “That’s not who I am. It never has been,” despite uttering the comment just a few minutes beforehand.

After Brennaman was fired, Huggins invited him to speak to his team about what he had done.

Huggins tweeted afterward, “I want to thank my friend Thom Brennaman for traveling over to Morgantown and speaking to the team. His message isn’t one of excuses but one of accountability. It takes courage to confront mistakes head on and I believe our guys learned that from his time with us.”

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