UC Irvine coach Russell Turner apologizes for ‘Queen’ comments against Oregon

by in News

UC Irvine men’s basketball coach Russell Turner issued an apology Monday for referring to University of Oregon player Louis King as “Queen” during Sunday’s NCAA Tournament second-round game in San Jose.

After Oregon’s 73-54 win Sunday night, Turner spoke about trying to get in King’s head by calling him “Queen,” but his comments met with criticism as misogynistic and homophobic. A request for an apology came from King’s mother.

“Since Russel Turner decided it was ok to try and publicly humiliate my son by calling him queen although he doesn’t get fazed by it. Me and his dad as his parents would like for him to publicly APOLOGIZE to louis. It was in poor taste,” Ativia King wrote in a tweet.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a former Olympian and a civil rights lawyer, was among those calling out Turner.

“.@UCIrvine coach @Coachrussturner, age 48, mocked a teenager w a sexist, homophobic slur. “I was saying double-team queen to try to see if I could irritate him,” Turner told reporters. “And I did.” @UOregon, you have a duty to prevent that. #TitleIX,” tweeted Hogshead-Makar.

Turner did apologize on Monday.

“I would like to address my post-game comments. I recognize my actions were inappropriate and insensitive. I share UC Irvine’s belief that inclusivity and diversity are paramount values, and I apologize for not understanding that my actions during the game suggested otherwise.

“I respect Oregon’s men’s basketball program, its student-athletes, and its coaches. Since the conclusion of the game, I have spoken to Louis, his parents, and to Oregon’s head coach Dana Altman. They have graciously accepted my explanation and apology.

“I take seriously my responsibility as a campus and community leader, and I regret that my actions during the Oregon game did not meet the standard of leadership I should consistently set. For that, I apologize to the UC Irvine community, including the student-athletes and coaches of our men’s basketball program. When student-athletes on our team make mistakes, I expect them to take responsibility and to learn from their mistakes in order to improve themselves. I will do the same. I accept full responsibility for my ill-considered actions, and I will learn from this situation to be a more thoughtful coach and competitor.”