By Jeff Fecke | February 19, 2004
Fire Gary Barnett
I don’t know how Gary Barnett looks himself in the mirror. It’s bad enough that his football program appears to lack any institutional control. It’s bad enough that there are enough allegations of impropriety to signal that his program has a sick, twisted culture that celebrates the abuse of women. It’s bad enough that, when asked about all of these allegations, he issues a flat denial, rather than at least being open to the possibility that there may be some truth to them.
But when a former player–the second woman to play Division I college football–comes forward to allege that she was subjected to cruel abuse, taunts, and ultimately, rape by her supposed teammates, Barnett chose the high road.
He decided to trash Katie Hnida’s skill as a football player.
The University of Colorado has placed Barnett on paid leave while they investigate. Fine and dandy, but I can tell you that if I were in charge, Barnett would be gone already. His statement was beyond insensitive–it demonstrated a coach so out of touch with reality that he is incapable of recognizing when his program is in trouble. It showed a lack of understanding of reality. It showed an epic lack of sensitivity (hint: when someone alleges rape, it’s common courtesy not to tell everyone how bad that person is at his or her job.) And finally, his non-apology apology, “… I apologize for answering that question in a manner where I must have come across as insensitive,” is not nearly enough to save him.
Colorado should fire Gary Barnett–and Division I athletics should start reassessing why they exist. When “sex parties” and strippers are considered acceptable recruiting tools, something has gone seriously awry.