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Women's hoops coach tells the world she's straight

The newly hired women's basketball coach at the University of Missouri made a point, in a news conference earlier this month, of telling the assembled that she was married with children.

Her remarks illustrate an undercurrent of homophobia in women's athletics, according to a thought-provoking account in today's Inside Higher Ed.

The new coach, Robin Pingeton, may have been sending a not-too-subtle message with her comments.

"I'm very blessed to have my staff here," she said, according to the report. "This is something very unique, I think, for Division I women's basketball to have a staff that the entire staff is married with kids. Family is important to us and we live it every day."

She also mentioned that she is a Christian, and that her values "are very important to me," speaking to an audience that included her husband and 3-year-old son.

Female players and coaches sometimes feel compelled "to prove they're straight," the report said.

More from the Inside Higher Ed report:

Helen J. Carroll, sports project director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said she thought Pingeton's comments were a way of "subtly proving that everyone in their program was straight." Pingeton's mention of her religion, Carroll added, "was yet again, a subtle way of saying being lesbian or being gay would be against religious values and isn't what our program is about."

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By Daniel de Vise  |  April 20, 2010; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  Athletics  | Tags: heterosexual basketball coach, pingeton coach, university missouri coach, women's basketball homophobia, women's basketball homosexuality  
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For a newly-hired coach at a public university to announce, "I am a Christian who happens to be a coach" is not a simple statement of fact. Nor is her talking about the marital and parental status of her staff. This is definitely code language for "We're all straight here." It's highly inappropriate.

Posted by: CarolAnne1 | April 21, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

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