Posted by: Catherine Lugg | December 4, 2012

Was VCU coach fired for being queer?

The volleyball coach,  James Finley, of Virgina Commonwealth University’s women’s team is alleging he was fired for being gay, although he had a 25-6 season and has a PERFECT graduation record (!!). The details do NOT look good for the university’s athletic department.

Finley has been on staff for eight years, so what changed? Enter the NEW athletic director, Ed McLaughlin.

But when Finley met with McLaughlin this time, the conversation was different. “He said they wanted to go in a different direction,” said Finley. The new direction did not include Finley as the head coach of his team. It did not include Finley on staff at all.

This was awful for Finley to hear. He had put much into the success of his team. But there were several red flags that popped up throughout the season leading up to this moment.

“From the beginning he interacted with other coaches, staffs, other teams. He participated [with them], and  with ours he didn’t…  At booster events, he avoided me whenever I was there. [I’d be] having a conversation with him and he’d walk away when I was trying to talk to him. I’d say ‘Hi’ and he’d look up at me, and put his head back down and not acknowledge me.”

Finley didn’t think much of the issue as the season passed, but on Oct. 5th, when Pat Stauffer, a 30-year-veteran of VCU athletics and an open lesbian, was demoted from Senior Women’s Administrator to  Sr. Associate AD for Sports Administration. It was too much for Finley, it was another red flag.

“If one things happens, OK, it happens; but if it happens a second time, it’s a pattern,” said Finley when he connected the dots. The lack of interaction all season and the circumstances of his dismissal became suspect.

Now, Mr. Finley might have faith in VCU’s system of appeals, but I have none. Virginia is one of the 14 states that has yet to repeal it’s law criminalizing queer identity (the so-called sodomy laws). Furthermore, there are NO civil rights protections when it comes to queers. And FINALLY, it is a state whose Governor, Bob McDonnell is a NOTORIOUS homophobe.

So, a dedicated coach, a winning collegiate coach whose students graduate, is fired because of???? Teh GAY! And it is perfectly legal to do so in the queer-hating state of Virgina.

Merry Christmas??

HT: Pam’s House Blend.

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