College Guide


March 07, 2012 10:00 AM The Dreaded Lavender Jerseys

By Daniel Luzer


Apparently Urban Meyer, the football coach at Ohio State University, has apologized to the school’s gay and lesbian alumni association and announced that he has discontinued the practice of punishing poorly performing athletes by making them wear purple jerseys.

According to a piece in The Other Paper:

Tim Valentine, president of the Ohio State University Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Alumni Society was pleased with the response. “Hidden under the guise of being a competitive motivator or ‘the only color left,’ the choice of lavender reinforces homophobia and promotes bullying amongst students. The color lavender is associated with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community,” Valentine said.

Okay fine. Perhaps. But it seems to me that Valentine is reinforcing the idea that purple is a gay color, which is kind of ridiculous.

Athletes at Arizona State, Boston College, Central Arkansas, Clemson, Kansas State, LSU, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Texas A&M, and the University of Washington all wear some shade of purple routinely, because it’s a college color.

Ohio State’s colors are scarlet and grey.One wonder’s how Meyer plans to punish athletes in the future. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Crissa on March 07, 2012 7:05 PM:

    Well, if you're going to choose a special color... Also, there's the old jocks-using-misogynistic/homophobic language thing anyhow, so choosing a color that would aggravate it is probably not so hot. I'd choose something like orange, yellow or black, so it would stick out as a penalty like the flag.

    Mostly the uniform looks poorly laundered. Perhaps that's where the tradition came from. But it's the associated language that aggravated the color, and no amount of trying to change the coach's language would change the historical context.