- The Washington Times - Monday, August 7, 2000

In case you were wondering, the University of Hawaii football players insist they are not limp-wristed sissies.

They hit as hard as the next college football team and resented the rainbow logo that threatened their manhood.

So last month, in response to this institutional attack on the players' flaming heterosexuality, the administration cleared its baritone throat and dropped the rainbow logo.

The connotation was too much to bear, according to Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida.

"That logo really put a stigma on our program at times in regards to its part of the gay community, their flags and so forth," Yoshida told a television station in Honolulu. "Some of the student athletes had some feelings in regards to that."

It seems the feelings were not warm.

Understandably, gay rights advocates are upset by the change and note that it fosters a climate of fear, especially for a football player struggling with his sexuality.

Predictably, not one member of Hawaii's football team came out of the closet during the ceremony. Even if most members of the team are gay, as was assumed before the change, they now are obligated to date the school's female cheerleaders, if not slap them around to show everyone how manly they are.

Or drag them down a flight of stairs by the hair.

The latter was Lawrence Phillips' most highly publicized move while he was at Nebraska.

Other college football players usually limit their demonstrations of manhood to raping and pillaging the community.

Hawaii's officials went to considerable trouble to distance themselves from the gay community.

Charlie Wade, an assistant women's volleyball coach at the school, is among those who is feeling better about the change. He apparently does not take it as a compliment when he is hit on by a guy. Now he knows how women sometimes feel.

"I can't be certain, but I think the rainbow had something to do with a flight attendant giving me his phone number one time," he said.

Fortunately, Wade recovered from the phone number and resumed his volleyball duties.

That is more than you can say for the football players, led by coach June Jones, who, incidentally, must be a secure man, given his first name.

At least it beats being named Mary.

The change was no easy decision, considering the tradition. The football team has been known as the Rainbow Warriors since 1923. Now the team goes by the Warriors, and all the gay football players coming out of high school have been put on notice. Hawaii is not the place for them, and even if it is, whatever they do, they should not pass their phone number along to the assistant volleyball coach.

The university has issued an apology, insisting it did not mean to offend anyone in the gay, straight, celibate and HBO's "Real Sex" communities.

Even Yoshida, the athletic director, has amended his original position, claiming the change was made to avoid confusion, whatever the confusion was. He must have meant with the former Shadow's Rainbow Coalition.

Just when you think most of America has embraced diversity, when gender differences are said to be barely perceptible, Hawaii's football players have adopted a please-ask, do-tell policy.

Hawaii's football players love women, and they think it is only right that after 73 years of misinformation, the rest of America knows how much they truly love and embrace women.

America stands corrected.

The rainbow logo is dead, replaced by one with a funny-looking "H," and the football players are Warriors, not Rainbow Warriors, and now June's team can get down to the business of winning games and not defending its sexuality, which is what it is all about.

What's in a sports nickname?

Now you know.

Being sensitive is tricky stuff, as Hawaii's officials have discovered.

By being sensitive to their highly sensitive football players, they have been charged with insensitivity by gay rights activists.

Hopefully, with the help of a lot of red meat and therapy, Hawaii's football players will be able to overcome their anxieties.

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