Coach's anti-gay slur during New Mexico Bowl causes uproar

Posted at: 12/22/2013 9:59 PM
Updated at: 12/22/2013 10:19 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

When the game is over, it is time to clean up.

The mess from Saturday's Gildan New Mexico bowl is not limited to trash outside University Stadium.

After Washington State scored the first touchdown of the game, a coach from Colorado State was caught on camera yelling a gay slur at a Washington State player.

The video quickly went viral.

Leaders of New Mexico's LGBT community say the coach's words are not welcome in New Mexico.

In the bigger picture, the comments raise a question that has come up on playing field before:

When does trash talk turn to hate speech?

"If this was a comment about -- a racially charged comment -- none of us would take a second thought at saying we need to take serious action and address this," said ProgressNow New Mexico executive director Pat Davis.

Davis says Colorado State Defensive Line coach Greg Lupfer's slur brings opportunity for a bigger talk.

"It needs to be criticized by the program, by ESPN and by everybody involved so there's a universal understanding that this wasn't appropriate and doesn't need to happen again," said Davis.

In video broadcast by ESPN during Gildan New Mexico Bowl coverage on Saturday, Lupfer appears to yell an anti-gay slur at WSU quarterback Connor Halliday after Halliday scored a touchdown.

Watching the video without the coach's mouth blurred like KOB has aired it, it is pretty obvious what he is saying, and soon after that video was broadcast on ESPN the coach took to the CSU Rams official Twitter page with an apology.

Lupfer Tweeted:

"I am truly sorry for what I said. It was wrong, and those words do not represent who I am or what I believe in. I apologize for the embarrassment I caused for Colorado State University, this team and my family."

"It's really frustrating and hard to understand when somebody says something like that and takes us back a century or so," said Davis.

Davis commends coach Lupfer for the apology, but says his comments are unwelcome in New Mexico, especially after the state's legalization of gay marriage just last week.

He says the comment is also damaging as many openly gay athletes prepare to travel to Russia for the Winter Olympics.

Russian anti-gay policy is making headlines around the world.

"We know the New Mexico Bowl should denounce this type of unsportsmanlike conduct," said Davis. "We're certain that they will."

New Mexico Bowl executive director Jeff Siembieda told KOB that CSU is handling the response with statements from their coaching staff.

Siembieda would not provide a statement on behalf of the New Mexico Bowl.