Mack apologizes, accepts punishment


POSTED: Saturday, August 01, 2009

They filed in through the doorway behind Greg McMackin, one by one, until they packed half the room.

Their message was clear.

About 50 of McMackin's players appeared to support their head coach as he apologized again for the remarks that cost him dearly — more than 10 percent of his annual salary of $1.1 million as a result of punishment announced yesterday by Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan and chancellor Virginia Hinshaw.

And their presence both strengthened and weakened their coach, who was emotional from the time he stepped into the Ed Wong Hospitality room yesterday afternoon until he exited, without taking questions, out a back door.

McMackin was contrite in an apology at the Western Athletic Conference Football Preview in Salt Lake City on Thursday, right after he referred to a Notre Dame's performance at last year's Sheraton Hawaii Bowl banquet as a “;f——- dance.”; But the presence of so many familiar faces yesterday made things far more difficult.

“;I'm very pained and disappointed in myself and I hope to make up for some of the pain,”; McMackin said between ragged breaths and after wiping away tears. “;I made a mistake. Now I have to show the leadership in dealing with both the football program and building respect for all people in our community.”;

Hinshaw called the past two days “;a painful experience for all involved,”; but praised his otherwise high character.

“;We all recognize that yesterday Coach McMackin made a serious mistake,”; Hinshaw said. “;It hurt many people and brought negative attention to our university and our state. He is clearly remorseful, as well he should be.”;

Senior running back Leon Wright-Jackson said linebacker Brashton Satele and center John Estes made the effort to round up the players, some of whom applauded their coach as he walked off the podium.

“;They told us we were going to come down here and support our coach, and that's what we came here to do,”; Wright-Jackson said. “;The emotion, you can tell he knows it was a big mistake and just hurt and everything. You can tell by his emotion that it's sincere that he apologizes. We're just here to back him up.”;

McMackin directed his words yesterday to “;anyone and everyone that I offended with my remarks.”;

Donovan said after he informed McMackin of his 30-day suspension without pay, the coach quickly came back with an offer to lead the team as a volunteer over that span.

After checking with NCAA regulations, Donovan granted the request. McMackin also accepted a 7 percent pay cut — which Donovan called “;voluntary”; to match the AD's own recent cut — in addition to the 30-day freeze.

He also must participate in activities with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community on campus. He will make a public service announcement about hurtful words and must support awareness training in UH athletics.

Donovan said he didn't think McMackin had slept at all since his gaffe.

“;I think what Coach McMackin is coming from is that he's really hurt inside because he hurt other people,”; Donovan said. “;I know he's going to work hard to work with and reach out to the gay and lesbian community here on campus. But I also believe — he saw Brashton Satele this morning — and Brashton said, 'I have your back.' And that meant an awful lot to him and he doesn't want to do anything to harm the team and the players. I think that will allow him to refocus on football.”;

Having their coach around through fall camp, which starts Thursday, meant much to Wright-Jackson and his teammates.

“;I think that's a great thing,”; Wright-Jackson said. “;It's showing, you know, when people make mistakes, just overcome (like) he just did. You know, we're going to move forward from it. Him volunteering, he's still part of this family, this UH Warrior football team.”;

WAC commissioner Karl Benson could not be reached for comment after the conference to see if the league would institute any additional punishment. Benson said previously the WAC would leave the first move to UH.

Earlier yesterday, Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis released a statement saying his team was “;offended”; about McMackin's comments but that, “;We accept his apology and we will move on.”;





        The University of Hawaii's response yesterday to Greg McMackin's use of a gay slur at Thursday's WAC Football Preview in Salt Lake City:

» 30-day suspension without pay. McMackin will remain with the team during that span on a voluntary basis


» 7 percent pay cut, called “;voluntary”; by athletic director Jim Donovan, to match Donovan's own salary decrease. Part of this money will support a new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender student intern, who will conduct campus-wide awareness training workshops


» Must have personal participation in LGBT activities on UH-Manoa campus


» Must give a public service announcement on hurtful words


» Must give presentations during student orientations


» Must support awareness/sensitivity training in UH athletics