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NFL Coach Calls Missed Play an "AIDS Convention"

NFL Coach Calls Missed Play an "AIDS Convention"


Missing from The Washington Post's coverage of Gregg Williams, an NFL coach accused of putting a bounty on opposing players' limbs, is any mention of a particularly alarming antigay comment its sports reporter discovered.

In a conversation Monday on Twitter with fellow reporter Dan Steinberg, Mike Wise reveals that he confirmed Williams "used gay slurs with the best of them," as one player put it. A representative for the Post points out that it mentioned that in its profile of Williams, a former defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints who is now with the St. Louis Rams and is under investigation for a habit of giving bonuses to players who have injured opponents on the field.

But Wise shares an offensive quote he confirmed with multiple sources but says to his coworker, "Some things don't make it into the family newspaper, you know that." Executive editor Marcus Brauchli is known in the newsroom for his aversion to printing content that might be seen as offensive.

In the incident that was left out of print, a player misses a run-read and Williams barks, "You dumb, stupid [MF], you went in the wrong hole. You went in the wrong, [expletive] hole. We're not running an AIDS convention here."

The Washington City Paper was the first to note the Twitter exchange, which ends with Steinberg joking they are both going to be reprimanded.

Wise says the incident was left out of the newspaper "twice for 'taste' reasons." And representatives for the Post have so far declined to comment on why the newspaper hasn't reported the statement or others like it. The list of offensive statements doesn't appear to stop with what's already been shared.

"There's worse," Wise assures. "Some things I can't even put on Twitter."

The NFL only added the words "sexual orientation" to its anti-discrimination policy last year, making the change as part of a new collective bargaining agreement.

Three former NFL players have come out only after leaving the sport behind -- Esera Tuaolo in 2002, Roy Simmons in 1992, and David Kopay in 1975. Sterling Sharpe famously said during the HBO Real Sports special in which Tuaolo came out that if he had lived openly then "he would have been eaten alive, and he would have been hated for it."

When Pittsburgh Steelers player James Harrison used an antigay slur against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in 2011, he apologized for being "careless." The use of antigay slurs in sports got added attention when the NBA's Kobe Bryant was fined last year for using one during a game. That incident was followed by others in the NBA, NHL and Major League baseball.

"If I'm not gay and I am afraid to mention it, I can only imagine what an athlete must be going through if he is gay," former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin said in a cover story last year from Out magazine that generated a lot of discussion in the sports world.

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