Alabama High School Students Facing Disciplinary After Displaying Homophobic Banner At Televised Football Game
The sign read: Purple? Man, that's GAY. Purple is one of Daphne's team colors. A screen shot of the banner made headlines Wednesday on Yahoo, NBC Sports and espn.com, among numerous websites.
NBC affiliate WPMI-15 in Mobile, Ala. reported that Baldwin County Schools spokesman Terry Wilhite said;
"It was a gimmick to get national attention, and they were successful at that. What they won't be successful at is doing it again."
After the game, the students were spoken to. And then back when school resumed the students were again spoken to by the principal and he, believe me, will carry out a disciplinary action."
According to Wilhite, school district officials want to send a clear message that intolerant behavior is unacceptable.
Some say the incident is not so much about homophobia as it is about an offensive word choice that's been perpetuated for decades. We got in touch with Cyd Zeigler, founder of Outsports.com. Outsports is an innovative website dedicated to covering the gay sports community.
"They're not trying to pay the other team a compliment, they're trying to insult them," Zeigler says. "And to use the word 'gay' as an insult, it's demeaning and incredibly offensive."
Local 15 News asked Zeigler for his perspective on where the blame should fall for the banner and the resulting fallout.
"I think the mistake is to blame people," he says. "Instead of trying to figure out who to blame, let's figure out how to fix it." ~ WPMI-15
Wilhite insisted the banner was a regrettable decision on the part of a handful of kids, not an indicator of a homophobic mentality among the entire student body.
"Something like that happens, and you have to tend to it," Wilhite says. "Is it an overall problem? No, not at all."
Wilhite did not give specifics on how the students who held the banner will be disciplined telling reporters that the decision will be up to the school's principal.