Athlete Ally, an organization activating athletes to support LGBT inclusion and equality, responds to Marshall University dismissing running back Steward Butler mid-afternoon Wednesday, hours after his arrest in connection with the anti-LGBT attack on two men he perceived as gay.
The university’s interim president, Gary C. White, issued a statement promising a swift and appropriate response within the institution’s student conduct system and student rights and responsibilities code. Athletic Director Mike Hamrick soon after announced Butler’s dismissal from the football team on Twitter, calling it a decision that he made with head coach Doc Holliday.
Athlete Ally issued the following response:
Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director, said:
“Incidents like this underscore the need for athletic communities to devote the highest level of attention to LGBT respect and inclusion. Homophobia is unfortunately still an active part of many athletic institutions. Until proactive steps are taken to prevent this conduct, we will continue to see similar cases of anti-LGBT bias, bullying, and violence.” Taylor added: “We commend Marshall University as well as Mike Hamrick, Doc Holliday and Gary White in particular for recognizing the deep significance of this conduct and for taking such swift action.”
Ashland Johnson, Athlete Ally Policy Director, added:
“Steward Butler puts homophobia in context, showing us what is at stake and how homophobic slurs and other forms of prejudice can perpetuate violence. This incident reminds athletic communities that we can never overlook any aggressions toward the LGBT community because they culminate in worst-case scenarios. No level of anti-LGBT prejudice can ever be condoned on or off the field.”