After Teammate Is Called a Gay Slur, College Soccer Team Shows That Winning is the Best Revenge

Thursday September 30, 2021
Originally published on September 29, 2021

Couper Gunn
Couper Gunn  (Source:Instagram)

When members of the Colby-Sawyer College soccer team heard a player from an opposing team use a gay slur, they retaliated in the most sportsmanlike-way possible — they beat the Rivier Univ. men's soccer team by a score of 5-0.

The game took place last Wednesday in Division III clash last between the two New Hampshire schools that are part of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, reports OutSports.

What prompted the slur was that Couper Gunn, a Colby-Sawyer team captain, was wearing a rainbow-colored captain's armband in support of his community. Then during the game's first half, a Rivier player said, "Get that faggot armband off of you." His remark was also heard by other members of the Colby-Sawyer team.

Gunn came out in 2019 and had worked with the Sports Equality Foundation, this past year in educating his teammates about homophobia.

"Earlier this year, Gunn had taken the extraordinary step of calling a team meeting to talk about language," Outsports reports. "While he had experienced outward support from his teammates, he also felt that some lingering language around the team — Gunn called it 'subversive homophobia' — could still be better."

"I talked with the team about some of the awful things they'd said, which was very hard to do at the time," Gunn said. "I wanted to make them aware of the issues and things they may have not thought about."

The process made an impression on Lucas Boetsch, one of Gunn's co-captains on the team. "He talked to us about what it's like to be an openly gay man today and educating us about the LGBTQ community. And that's something I'm really proud of, his work in support of the community," he told OutSports.

Boetsch said he heard the slur. "The first real emotion was just fury at the audacity of someone using a homophobic slur like that," Boetsch said. "It was outrageous to us."

But instead of a physical confrontation between the teams, Gunn took charge. "Gunn had enough self control to keep his response to words with the player, then talk with the referee and his coach. He was a leader on the team, and he knew he needed to act like one.

"I was very proud of Couper in the way he responded," Boetsch said. "You could tell he was visibly upset. He had a couple words with the opponent, and then he spoke to the referee afterward. And then the game went on. But the part I'm most proud of is that he didn't retaliate.

"He had the opportunity to lay the kid out, but he didn't. He let the game talk."

And while visibly upset a half-time, Gunn felt he was "off his game" when the second half began; but he felt the support from his teammates and they rallied big, scoring 5 goals in the second half and winning 5-0.

@cmaxxg Love always wins #gayfootballer #queer #alphabetmafia ? original sound - Coup

"We went on to beat them, 5-0, and embarrass them at their fields under their lights in front of their home fans," Gunn said in the video.

He also reached out to Rivier, an hour's drive from Colby-Sawyer, — to talk with athletes there about language and better respecting the needs of the LGBTQ community, reported OutSports. "He had success doing that very thing with his own team, and he hopes to have a similar impact at his rival school. Gunn said Rivier has not responded to his offer."