Dunlap: UC Irvine Coach Embarrassed Himself

'Calling a dude "Queen" to try to make him a girly-man or something? Come on man.'

Colin Dunlap
March 25, 2019 - 7:25 am
UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not the PC Police. 

Believe me, I can withstand a lot. A whole lot. And there is nothing worse than the "looking to be offended" crowd. 

This isn't one of those situations, however. This seems like a man going out of his way to be mean, to be a bully, to demean someone --- just my opinion, of course. Appears there's a lot of smoke in this instance. 

There is, as always, a line. And UC Irvine coach Russell Turner crossed it with what he commanded his team to do against Oregon in the NCAA tournament in what wound up being a loss to the Ducks on Sunday night. 

Oregon forward Louis King is a freshman. 

Related: Where's Cinderella? Favorites Dominating in NCAA 2nd Round

He's also really good. 

He finished with 16 points against UC Irvine. He's a brightspot for coach Dana Altman's team that has made a little bit of a run. 

He's also a guy who was made to withstand UC Irvine calling him "Queen" all night. That would be one thing independently and probably not that big of a deal if kids were just, well, being kids. You know, if a bunch of 19 and 20 year olds came up with the idea themselves. 

But this all came about because Turner, the UC Irvine coach, told his team to do it --- and he admitted as much. 

"Yeah, I'll tell you," Turner said during a postgame press conference. "I was saying 'Double Team Queen' to try to see if I could irritate him. And I did. And I kept talking to my team about what we wanted to do.

"We were calling him 'Queen' because I knew it might irritate him, because of how important he is to their team, the queen in chess. It was a play on his name of King.

"And it bothered him, started thinking about me, started thinking about Max (Hazzard, one of UC Irvine’s starting guards). But he came back and finished the game really strong. And he'd had a thing or two to say to me during the game, and I wanted to let him know that what I'd done was out of respect."

What garbage. 

If you want to respect him, treat him like a man. 

If you want to respect him, don't be a coach talking sh#@ to a player. That's always a bad look in sports. 

And, you know what, I'm not buying the explanation fully, either. 

The thought here (despite the ridiculous comparison to some chess pieces) is that the coach was trying to feminize King's last name --- and having his players do so --- to get under the skin of King. 

Really? Like that's where we are in the world still? Calling a dude "Queen" to try to make him like a girly-man or something? 

Come on man. 

Even if you give the coach the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't at least thinly veiled in homophobia (I don't) and take his words at face value, do we really want an atmosphere where a coach is instructed his players to talk a bunch of mess? 

And, admittedly, doing it himself? 

You decide for yourself how to answer those questions. For me, it's a big "no." 

This guy, this coach from UC Irvine named Russell Turner, is at worst someone who tried to demean a young man by attempting to feminize him and at best (and admittedly) a coach who wants his players to try to win with their mouths and a guy who cant's help himself from talking trash to players. 

What a leader, huh? 

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