Last Wednesday, I attended Mock Rock and was excited to see the huge turnout. I was proud to be a Michigan Wolverine — our student-athletes are so passionate on and off the field. I was also proud to be a Michigan Wolverine in January when our campus rallied behind our new head football coach Brady Hoke. Along with other students, I posted Facebook statuses urging people to support him. I was sold on him by the end of his speech at the first press conference.

I was initially excited to hear Hoke’s comments as a judge during Mock Rock, but that dwindled when he remarked on the wrestling team’s skit. A spoof of Facebook, the act included two guys pretending to be roommates in a Facebook marriage. I enjoyed their act and wasn’t offended by the bromance. Hoke’s first comment was “Well, I was getting pretty nervous when those two guys were getting pretty close to each other, but…”

I recognize that calling Hoke a homophobe is an exaggeration. I also realize that it’s possible he has no discomfort with the LGBTQ community and was only trying to get a laugh. Regardless of his intention, however, I was hurt by his careless words that suggest being a gay man is such a horrible thing. In a position of great power and influence on this campus, even the most fleeting comment holds great weight. The athletic community is already struggling with homophobia — the last thing we need is the face of Michigan Athletics contributing. To the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, thank you for planning another amazing Mock Rock event — you do great work. To Coach Hoke, please be careful with your statements and recognize that some of your biggest fans are members of the LGBTQ community. Thank you for your engagement on campus thus far, I’m looking forward to Sept. 3. Go Blue.

Stephanie Parrish
Public Policy senior

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