McMackin used a gay slur three times to describe the chant, audio of which can be heard here. McMackin quickly apologized for the remarks, which were made Thursday at Western Athletic Conference media day in Salt Lake City, and he apologized again Friday when his suspension was announced. McMackin also called Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who accepted his apology.
McMackin will forfeit approximately $169,000 from his $1.1 million annual salary for the remarks but will be allowed to coach the team on a "volunteer" basis while he serves the suspension. In addition, he will participate in activities with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Student Services on the Hawaii campus and participate in a public service announcement. The WAC could also take action.
While most students on the Hawaii campus backed the suspension, some disagreed. One student who declined to be identified told the Honolulu Advertiser the punishment was "crazy." A woman who works at the university said, "It's too harsh."
Jo-Ann Adams, an attorney and member of Pride Alliance Hawaii, an advocacy group, was concerned how McMackin's comments will affect "the closeted UH athlete." Adams said those athletes are probably hurt by McMackin's comments and that the punishment was warranted. "I'd like to see what he does in 30 days," she added.
Viewpoints from around the country:
Al Lesar, South Bend Tribune: "Obviously, coaches have fried for less than McMackin's offense. Had he made the comment about Boise State or New Mexico State, it would have been bad. Saying it about Notre Dame gave the story legs. It made this bad decision even worse. Aloha."
Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman: The punishment didn't go far enough. McMackin should also have been suspended for at least one game.
Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser: "Could UH have imposed a heftier punishment? Sure. But even if the hammer had been heavier, a 60-day suspension instead of the 30 days handed down, or a 15 percent rollback in salary compared to the seven percent 'voluntary' cut he will take, it is doubtful it could have made anymore of an impact on McMackin."
Graham Watson, ESPN: "McMackin deserved more than a stiff reprimand for his words, but since Hawaii decided to issue a punishment, I have to call the school out on what appears to be a tough punishment on the exterior, but really isn't that bad."