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High school footballers resist coach encouraging homophobic taunts, get him fired
Photo via Tom Newby/Flickr (CC-BY)
The players resisted.
A Maine high school varsity football coach is out of a job after players and parents reported him for allegedly encouraging the students to direct homophobic taunts at a player of an opposing team with two mothers.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Gray-New Gloucester High School coach Duane Greaton, who was in his first year, is no longer working for the school because he told his team to taunt the opposing player with the phrase, “Who’s your daddy?” every time he was tackled during the game.
The Yarmouth High School student’s parents, Lynn and Stephanie Eckersley-Ray, said they were told about the directive to taunt their son by parents of the opposing team before the game started. However, they said no taunts were overheard from the Gray-New Gloucester team.
Senior and team captain Eric Thompson later told the publication that the players understood they shouldn’t engage in the taunting. Thompson said the jeer was Greaton’s tactic to get the team to play aggressively.
The Eckersley-Rays then wrote a letter to Superintendent Craig King of Maine School Administrative District 15 explaining how Greaton’s behavior was discriminatory and asking for a meeting to resolve the matter. King said Greaton’s last day working for the district was Oct. 16, but he would not confirm if he resigned or was dismissed.
“We found out because some Gray parents and players stepped forward and we are extremely thankful to them,” Lynn Eckersley-Ray told the publication. “They did what they could about it and we are appreciative and thankful for that.”
According to follow-up coverage from the Press Herald, the school district was advised by a Gray-New Gloucester parent and a former varsity football coach not to hire Greaton. Prior to joining the school in 2017, Greaton coached at the youth and middle school levels for several years.
Renee Blazejewski had told King that her son, a junior, would not play on the team if Greaton was hired, stating that the former coach’s “tactics and abuse” were evident when her son was in third and fourth grade—she said he would grab at players’ face masks and swear at them and that several upperclassmen didn’t return to the team because of Greaton’s hiring.
Mark Renna, the school’s varsity coach from 2014-2016, resigned in May amid King’s hiring decision. Renna, who had previously asked Greaton to be involved with varsity team events, said he told King that Greaton’s hiring would be a “mistake.”
“He’s very unqualified. Oh, you can’t trust him at all,” Renna said.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.