Thursday, December 22, 2005

Feds Go After Lesbian-Baiting Coach

(Link) Former Penn State player joins a new team , this time of lawyers, who plan to point out to Coach Rene Portland that dyke-bashing isn't just mean -- it's illegal.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) A former Penn State women's basketball star Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit against coach Rene Portland, charging her with violating numerous federal and state laws and the Constitution.

Jennifer Harris, a 6 foot guard played on Penn State's Lady Lions basketball team from 2003 to 2005.

Harris alleges that Portland repeatedly questioned her about her sexual orientation, repeatedly threatened to kick Harris off the team if she found out Harris was a lesbian, and eventually told other players not to associate with Harris because she believed that Harris was gay.

In 2005, Coach Portland abruptly told Harris to find somewhere else to play. Harris transferred to James Madison University.

Harris, who is not gay, is represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The suit names Portland, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and Penn State as defendants.

It alleges they violated federal and state laws and constitutional protections prohibiting discrimination based on race, gender, and sexual orientation.

In addition to seeking damages, Harris asks the court to order Penn State to conduct mandatory non-discrimination training for all athletic department employees, as well as create new policies to help student athletes report discrimination without fear of retaliation.

Harris already has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission against Portland and the university.

Last week two other former players on Penn State's women's basketball team have come forward to accuse Portland of making disparaging comments about lesbians.

Courtney Wicks, who played on the Lady Lions from 1996 - 1997, and Cindy Davies who played for Penn State in 1980, say that they also heard Portland make accusations about lesbians.

Davies who is a lesbian and Wicks who has a lesbian sister made the allegations on ESPN in a program looking into allegations made by former player Jennifer Harris.

Harris has now taken her high-powered game to James Madison University where she is coached by Kenny Brooks. Because of NCAA transfer rules, Harris must sit out the 2005-2006 season before she is eligible to play her junior and senior seasons.