Coach Ron Brown Doesn’t Approve of Gays, But Would Totally Never Act Homophobic

Here’s the deal. A lot of people feel sports are one of the last bastions in American culture where homophobia is deeply ingrained and widely accepted. Charles P. Pierce (no relation to Brittany S. Pierce) over at Grantland thinks that people like Ron Brown, Nebraska assistant football coach, shouldn’t be fired for their homophobic views and beliefs that discrimination is peachy keen. Pierce says that we shouldn’t be firing Brown but explaining to him in a soothing voice that things are a-changing and he should catch up or else be really embarrassed in approx 50 years. If he’s not dead by then. He’ll probably be dead by then though.

“No action should be taken against Ron Brown…That’s not what we should be doing to people in this country. But somebody should take him aside and explain to him that the world is changing around him and that, for everyone’s sake, it’s time for him to adjust or get out of the way.”       -Charles P. Pierce.

Much to my surprise and chagrin, Ron Brown is not a crotchety old white dude. You don’t need to remember his name necessarily. Sure, he organized the prayer circle after the Penn State v. Nebraska game. And yes, he spoke out in opposition of a Fairness Ordinance that protects LGBT people from housing and employment discrimination. Plus, he’d be proud of his views getting him fired. I know you only allot a certain amount of room in your brain space for the names of homophobes. I store this information in the same compartment as times I’ve tripped in public. It’s an area I like to call, “things that I don’t need to remember but hold onto anyway.” Let’s consider this guy a figurehead for all homophobic college coaches and put him there.

If a coach is willing to admit that they’re openly homophobic, why would you not fire them? There’s a weird double standard here that it’s okay to harbor certain kinds of bigotry. To presume that one can hold these beliefs and not actively discriminate while doing their job is naive and shows a lack of understanding of what it means to be a college athlete. The only people that can hold a candle to how much time you spend with your teammates are your coaches. And your coaches have a direct impact on your life, general well-being, and overall happiness. Being a Division I football player is a job. And just like any other job, if your boss has something against you, you know it, everyone else sees it, it shows in your performance, and it greatly affects your experience.

“I wholeheartedly agree with UNL’s Non-Discrimination Policy. As a follower of Jesus Christ, and a UNL employee for twenty-two years, I haven’t, nor will I violate this policy…If [a gay player] didn’t agree [with homosexuality being a sin], I wouldn’t penalize him with playing time or any form of discrimination. I have and will embrace every player I coach, gay or straight, but I won’t embrace a legal policy that supports a lifestyle that God calls sin.” – Ron Brown

I guess he doesn’t realize this makes no sense because Nebraska is a state university. Having this coach on board is a conflict of interests, it’s a disservice to the program, and it’s unfair to the players that he comes into contact with. Does anyone believe this guy has reached some higher level of functioning where he can completely separate his personal prejudices from the subjective decisions he makes day in and day out when there are three paragraphs about his religious beliefs in the football media guide?

“But the laws in question ban actual discrimination. They do not ban approval of discrimination. They do not ban prayerful support of discrimination. Whatever Brown thinks, and whatever he says, ought not to be touched by any law.” -Charles P. Pierce

Division I football players aren’t exactly falling out of the closet, but that doesn’t keep speculation and suspicion from finding their way into locker rooms. The university’s concern should be to protect student-athletes, and keeping someone on staff who would openly pass judgment on players shows what a joke anti-discrimination policies are in the NCAA. In sports, treating a player adversely can be chalked up to almost anything, so it’s unclear as ever how to prove “actual discrimination.” I guess we should just make those who are openly sexist, racist, and/or homophobic pinkie promise that they won’t be discriminatory and call it a day.

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Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 328 articles for us.


  1. UGH, this assclown needs to stop embarrassing my university.

    In a state where Husker football IS its own religion, you can’t make all these public speeches and appearances and then claim it has nothing to do with your role in the football program.
    That’s WHY they’re listening to you,dummy.

  2. Way to go Ron Brown! Formal equality for LGBT people is redundant because you are just such a Nice Guy. I bet Nebraska LGBTs have never felt more protected!

  3. Good old Nebraska. Why did I leave California for this again? Oh, riiiight, for school. Wait. But UNL hates gays. Looks like THIS dyke is going to UNO. Come on, everyone knows Omaha is home to millions of lesbians.

    • Hi Kimperly,

      Please don’t paint all of us at UNL with the same brush. Doing so would be like me basing my opinions of all LGBT people with one jerky person I heard about on the news who happens to be gay.

      Ron Brown is an anomaly at UNL. He should not be used to infer that all faculty, staff, or students feel the same way. I’m a prof there and know of no one who doesn’t think this guy should go. Hope to see you in Lincoln.

  4. Gay brothers and sisters,… You must come out. Come out… to your parents… I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives… come out to your friends… if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors… to your fellow workers… to the people who work where you eat and shop… come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters…” Harvey Milk,1978

    Its a shame anyone has to “come out” at all, but Athletes, Coaches, Announcers…you have a platform. Come out. Come out as allies and advocates. Its so important.

    • I have to say this triggered a lot of feelings, mostly based on the terrible horrible experiences of one lesbian of my acquaintance.

      Do you really think GLBTIQ people have a responsibility to come out, regardless of consequences?

      • No, not if it would endanger their safety and well-being (I’m not fully out myself). But independent adults? Yeah, I think so.

        I can’t figure out why people and organizations tolerate intolerance.

      • No, not if it would endanger their safety and well-being (I’m not fully out myself). But independent adults? Yeah, I think so.

        I can’t figure out why people and organizations tolerate intolerance. Straight folks who are anti-discrimination themselves but when their peers say/do discriminatory things shrug, “Oh, well that is just their belief.”

    • i think you have good intentions? but this makes me extremely uncomfortable. no tblg person should ever ever have to come out, or feel pressure from the queer community that they are less of their identity or not as brave if they’re not out. it is not always safe for anyone, including “independent adults” to come out, and i care so much more about safety and better mental health of tblg people than everyone being out so we can break down myths or something.

      obviously, “coming out” as someone who is not a dick about queer rights (i don’t feel like straight people should be calling themselves allies, that’s a thing that you earn/prove) is completely different, and really important to have happen.

      but yeah.

    • I want them to be out too, but for athletes, coaches, and sport people coming out means emasculation and the ire of their peers, not to mention severely endangering their future job prospects. They might not be let go immediately, but it’s dangerous and I feel so much for those people. Their entire future could go poof and it’s scary, and I can’t in good conscience try and make them feel worse than they do for their situation.

  5. GreatJob Ron Brown!
    If you reduce your faith to an opinion, it still does not denote hate.
    You just believe certain things are right and certain things are wrong.

    It’s not homophobia because you should never allow anyone to reduce your sexual preference to the whole of who you are. We are all God’s creation and he loves us. And we all have sinned so don’t make it hate because we don’t agree, because for Christians it’s not hate, we are commanded to love your neighbor, and no matter who you are or your predispositions, it can be a challenge to agree, but we still love. That’s who we are and that’s what we should do!

    • If my boss fired me simply because I was gay, that would not feel very Christian or loving to me.

      That’s what he was saying.
      That it is OKAY for me to lose my job.

      So “you should never allow anyone to reduce your sexual preference to the whole of who you are” seems like a very relevant thing for you to say, actually.

    • Don’t take this as me hitting on you or anything but let’s do this, syllogistically. I’ll argue from your premises:

      Christians don’t hate.
      A hates.
      Therefore, A is not a Christian.


      All humans are sinners. Christians are always humans. Hate is a sin.
      A is a Christian.
      Therefore, A is a sinner.
      Therefore, it is possible for A to hate and be a Christian.

      THEREFORE, either:
      a. It is possible for Ron Brown to hate (in which case he wouldn’t be a Christian); or
      b. Ron Brown is a sinner, and therefore it is possible for him to be a Christian and hate.

      Pick which one you prefer.

      • Eh, somewhat flawed. It’s not his hatred that’s the problem, but his statement that his hatred is congruent with his belief and that it’s okay to hold it. It’s not necessarily his hatred that makes him less than Christian, but his being okay with his hatred.

        • I read the original commenter as denying that Ron Brown’s views are hateful because they form part of his religious beliefs – and Christians love, they don’t hate.

          I’m trying to poke a hole in that by demonstrating the possibility (logically) of Christians being hateful. If more Christians could accept this, rather than just assuming they were being loving because they were Christians, they might be more thoughtful when they went out and said homophobic bullshit.

          I agree it’s somewhat flawed, but mainly because I didn’t state my assumptions for the first part :P

  6. enablers!
    straight people who say: oh i’m not homophobic but you cannot get angry at homophobic people THEY’RE ENTITLED TO THEIR BELIEFS and i would rather validate the homophobic guy’s beliefs and enable homophobia than stand up to them and say ‘thats shitty im not going to passively engage in your shitty homophobia’

    if you don’t challenge homophobia you enable it straight people
    it’s so hard to call them out on it. they’re the worst

  7. I saw this when it first showed up on espn. Brown apparently has no reading comprehension skills and a skewed (lack of) understanding of religious freedom/freedom of speech.

    1) Being fired for this asshattery would not equal being fired for his faith, it would be being fired for being a bigot.

    2) He claims that if it was a sin 2000 years ago, then it’s a sin now. So why the fuck does he keep wearing mixed fiber clothes. If he really wants to go for a strict interpretation of the Bible, then he’s going to run into issues with Leviticus so he might not want to act so high and mighty when it comes to LGBT issues (the whole don’t ignore the plank in your eye thing).

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