May 9, 2023 — Athlete Ally responded today to news that yesterday, West Virginia men’s basketball head coach Bob Huggins used anti-LGBTQI+ language to refer to Xavier University fans. Since the incident, Huggins issued a statement on social media, and West Virginia Athletics issued a statement saying Huggins’ remarks do not reflect their values, and that they are reviewing the situation.
“Words matter, especially coming from leaders in the athletic community who help dictate the culture of a team, campus and community,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “We are glad to see West Virginia Athletics taking this incident seriously, and Huggins committing to ‘do better.’ This is why coach education around LGBTQI+ inclusion in sports is so direly needed. We hope to see Huggins and all WV Athletics staff investing in education to better understand the lived experiences of the LGBTQI+ community, and the impact that discriminatory language has on the mental health of players, coaches and fans who simply want to be safe, welcome and included as they are.”