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“What’s a gay Wolverine fan to do?”
April 7, 2010 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Jim Tressel: 'Everybody is important'. Ohio State's football coach talks to Outlook Columbus, a local GLBT magazine.

Reactions (1 2 3) are generally positive, though as always comments sections can be a free-for-all.

(The main link is to a reprint of the original article. I couldn't navigate the Outlook Columbus site.)
posted by kmz (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
As a umich grad, I now hate Jim Tressel slightly less; say, with the burning intensity of 999 suns. I still hate his team whole-hog, though.
posted by axiom at 12:45 PM on April 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Interesting. He doesn't really go into the question of gays in sports so much as he talks about inclusiveness for everyone who is participating, regardless of their differences. This was an email interview, so he obviously had plenty of time to think through his wording and such -- these aren't off the cuff reactions to the questions. Probably just as well, too.

Still, to see a football coach of a pretty high-power college team make statements such as these about the atmosphere he tries to create for his team and surrounding persons is outstanding. And his analysis of how sports players are often immersed in athletics from a very young age and may only come to a broader understanding of their true selves once they get into college and are exposed to broader influences is right on the mark.

I only hope that his spirit and philosophy is more wide-spread than is apparent, and that it will be contagious as we move into this time where we are starting to look more closely at the idea of gay athletes in sports of all levels.
posted by hippybear at 12:54 PM on April 7, 2010


Well, now I suppose I'll have to resist yelling "In your face" if I ever meet him.

I'm still glad we stomped all over him in the championship a few years ago. GO GATORS!
posted by oddman at 12:56 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least as a first step, this is especially important given that the most homophobic people I have known have been highly engaged as sports fans. If we can get high profile coaches and players talking some kind of sense about gay issues I think that could do so much to challenge homophobia.

Next up: lets see some good pro gay sound bites from the editors of Guns & Ammo and Road and Track.
posted by idiopath at 1:01 PM on April 7, 2010


Someone that well-groomed and sartorial is clearly a progressive man. Then there's this guy.
posted by basicchannel at 1:14 PM on April 7, 2010


This is the reason we call him "The Senator". As big as OSU football is, he constantly reminds his players and the university that is isn't the only priority.

Plus, I can't see Jim Tressel having a nervous breakdown any time soon...cough***Urban Meyer***cough.
posted by nowoutside at 1:19 PM on April 7, 2010


Yeah JT!

This is really nice to see. I think he's done some great stuff with the team, especially compared to Cooper, who let them run around uncontrolled (Maurice Clarett, anyone?). He's transformed the program very nicely AND manages to keep beating Michigan!
posted by olinerd at 1:42 PM on April 7, 2010


As a queer MSU Spartan all I have to say is...go Big Ten.
posted by Tesseractive at 1:52 PM on April 7, 2010


Columbus has a very large LGBT community. One of the best in the nation, apparently. I'm an OSU student and it's no secret I'm a big fan of Columbus - I think many people don't realize what a progressive city it is (buying into whatever Midwest/Ohio stereotypes they have), and therefore might be surprised by this, but I'm really not.

I mean, the current exhibition at one of the OSU arts center is about masculinity in sports. It's hardly a backwards place, though it's always nice to see a top football coach be LGBT friendly.

A lot of the article is platitude-ish (he is a football coach afterall), but I think he makes an insightful point about "career athletics" students having trouble defining themselves outside of what they do, and the necessity for all of them to explore who they are outside of the sport.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:14 PM on April 7, 2010


Plus, Tressel is a total class-act. I mean, that sweater vest? Come on. He rocks.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:19 PM on April 7, 2010


“What’s a gay Wolverine fan to do?”

Piss in the radiator?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:23 PM on April 7, 2010


After the discussion of the Mississippi fake prom yesterday, it is refreshing to read about a privileged person in a position of power writing about inclusion and educating young people to be respectful of each others' differences. Hats off to Coach Tressel.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:45 PM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think he's done some great stuff with the team, especially compared to Cooper, who let them run around uncontrolled (Maurice Clarett, anyone?).

Uh, Tressel was head coach when Clarett was there.

That said, we've come a long way from the head coach of my alma mater declaring homosexuality was an "abomination against Almighty God" while wearing school apparel.
posted by dw at 3:24 PM on April 7, 2010


The only thing interesting here is how bizarre it will all look in 50 years.

(For a minute I thought, "Jim Tressel is gay?! Well that explains the sweater vests ...")
posted by mrgrimm at 3:38 PM on April 7, 2010


...these aren't off the cuff reactions to the questions. Probably just as well, too.

I think you'd have a hard time finding any off-the-cuff remarks from Jim Tressel that didn't sound like he had weeks to think about them. Senator Tressel, indeed.

...I think many people don't realize what a progressive city it is (buying into whatever Midwest/Ohio stereotypes they have), and therefore might be surprised by this, but I'm really not.

I was born and raised in central Ohio and attended The Ohio State University. I'm a Buckeye through and through, and I like to think my stereotypes are well-founded. That's why I was pleasantly and hilariously surprised the other day when I was looking at all the delicious items on this Columbus restaurant's menu(.pdf) and noticed "The Glenn Beck." I did not expect to see that there.

As to the article, I'm not at all surprised to find that coach Tressel didn't really say anything groundbreaking or controversial, but is still receiving praise. If he's not the Eminently Decent Man that every Buckeye knows and loves, then he's a Jedi Master of Favorable Public Relations. I suspect he's actually both.
posted by Balonious Assault at 5:03 PM on April 7, 2010


Yeah, Tressel coached Clarett. All I can say is, from an arrests-and-violations perspective, we look good beside our peer programs in the SEC and PAC-10. I also like the way we win games with kicking and defense.

I'm an OSU fan because I grew up in Columbus. Last year I went back for the first time in nearly a decade, and was struck by how many bars and how few bookstores are in the university area. A nice city, though, and a place where I'd be happy to get a job and raise kids.
posted by sy at 8:02 PM on April 7, 2010


He coached him, but I'm pretty sure he was Cooper's recruit, wasn't he? I remember after the 2002 National Championship everyone saying "Yeah, Tressel coached them to a win, but how will he be without Cooper's recruiting?"
posted by olinerd at 4:22 AM on April 8, 2010


nowoutside, his ratio of championships to breakdowns is 2 to 1. I'll take that.*



*Except in the case that his health, mental or physical, really is in jeopardy. It's just a game, after all.
posted by oddman at 6:35 AM on April 8, 2010


As a umich grad, I now hate Jim Tressel slightly less; say, with the burning intensity of 999 suns. I still hate his team whole-hog, though.

This discussion doesn't appear to be going anywhere else so I'd like to respond to this. As a Buckeye, I can certainly appreciate and respect those feelings, and I look forward to the day when Michigan football regains some respectability so we Buckeyes can put aside these disconcerting feelings of pity and return to the natural order of pure, reciprocated hatred.

If I may offer a bit of advice, I think Michigan should get rid of Rodriguez and return to what has worked for them in the past, and what even the Florida Gators had the good sense to do -- hire a coach from Ohio.
posted by Balonious Assault at 9:57 AM on April 8, 2010


He coached him, but I'm pretty sure he was Cooper's recruit, wasn't he?

Tressel was hired in early 2001. Clarett was a true freshman on the 2002 national championship team. So, no, Clarett was his recruit, not Cooper's.

As a Buckeye, I can certainly appreciate and respect those feelings, and I look forward to the day when Michigan football regains some respectability so we Buckeyes can put aside these disconcerting feelings of pity and return to the natural order of pure, reciprocated hatred.

I find both THE Ohio State University and Michigan fans to be pretty pompous and entitled, like Alabama fans with more teeth. I invite any of you to come root for the University of Colorado's sports teams just to see how the rest of us live -- hoping that maybe this year the team might play in some pre-Christmas bowl sponsored by a gimmick-laden casual-dining restaurant chain against the fifth best team in the Sun Belt conference, because that would actually be an improvement over last year's how-the-hell-did-we-win-four debacle. Or hoping that maybe the fifth best running back in the south Denver suburbs will commit to CU instead of opting for a Division III school that won't even give him a scholarship.

And don't even get me started on basketball. Two NCAA appearances in my lifetime. TWO. Most years, finishing eighth in the Big XII is an accomplishment. So bad that the most successful coach of the last 50 years left CU to take the Northern Illinois job. Yeah, that's a promotion.

OTOH, sixteen skiing championships. So there's that.

Seriously, come down and root for the minnows sometime. Where 7-5 is a reason to cheer, not plant moving signs in the coach's front yard.
posted by dw at 6:29 PM on April 8, 2010


I find both THE Ohio State University and Michigan fans to be pretty pompous and entitled, like Alabama fans with more teeth. I invite any of you to come root for the University of Colorado's sports teams just to see how the rest of us live...

Oh, hey, back on topic! One's allegiance to Ohio State or Michigan isn't usually so much a choice as it is something one is born with. I believe Jim Tressel would want you to try to find acceptance in your heart.
posted by Balonious Assault at 12:27 AM on April 9, 2010


Seriously, come down and root for the minnows sometime.

University of Colorado has like 30,000 students, is a member of the Big 12, and won the national championship not that long ago. You also housed Bill McCartney for far too long.

So no.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:09 AM on April 9, 2010


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