Basketball coach Bob Huggins takes $1 million salary reduction are calling rival fans ‘f*gs’

Bob Huggins has been head coach of West Virginia mens basketball team since 2007. (Getty Images)

A college basketball coach in America has reportedly taken a $1 million (almost £800,000) reduction in his salary, after calling rival fans “Catholic f*gs”.

Bob Huggins, who coaches the West Virginia University (WVU) men’s team, used the homophobic slur on a radio show, where he also accused fans of arch-rivals, Xavier University, of throwing rubber penises at the game.

“Any school that can throw rubber penises on the floor then say they didn’t do it, by God they can get away with anything,” Huggins said while appearing on 700WLW radio station’s Bill Cunningham Show on Monday (May 8).

He added: “It was, all those f*gs, those Catholic f*gs, I think.”

Later that day he took to Twitter to “deeply apologise” for using the “abhorrent” phrase, and is now believed to have agreed to take the huge hit to his salary, with the money reportedly being used to support WVU’s LGBTQ+ centre.

Bob Huggins, 69, has also agreed to a three-game suspension and sensitivity training, ESPN reported, with the outlet claiming his salary has been reduced from $4.2 million (£3.35 million) to $3.2 million (£2.55 million).  

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“I have no excuse for the language I used, and I take full responsibility,” Huggins tweeted, adding that he is looking forward to working with the LGBTQ+ centre to “learn more about the issues facing the community”.

In addition, is to make a “substantial donation” to Xavier University to support its diversity and inclusion centre for “the disparaging way in which the Catholic faith was characterised in the comments”. 

WVU will reportedly partner with the LGBTQ+ centre to develop annual training sessions that will “address all aspects of inequality, including homophobia, transphobia, sexism and ableism”, which will be required to be taken by Huggins and all athletic coaching staff. 

WVU Athletics said in a statement: “Coach Huggins’ remarks on a Cincinnati radio show were insensitive, offensive and do not represent our values. West Virginia University does not condone the use of such language and takes such actions very seriously.”

According to the New York Post, Huggins’ words have also led to a podcaster losing his job, with Josh Neighbours, host of Locked On Big 12, claiming he was fired after airing Huggins’ comments uncensored.

“I made the conscious decision to play Bob Huggins’ comments in their entirety and without censoring the slurs that he used,” Neighbours said.

He agreed that the slur was “abhorrent”, but claimed that it was important to play to “combat” anti-LGBTQ+ hate. Due to the company that runs the podcast having a “zero-tolerance for hate speech” policy, however, he was let go, Neighbours said.

“I was obviously not using the hate speech, I was trying to combat it and say it’s terrible and awful and should not happen. To play it and give the full context to give the folks a chance to hear it all, I did make the choice to play that,” he added.

“I understand they have their rules. I might disagree with them, but there is a zero-tolerance policy on hate speech whether you are decrying it or using it.”

Xavier University’s president, Colleen Hanycz, said: “At Xavier, we are steadfastly committed to creating an inclusive, welcoming campus where every member of this community is valued and respected… this is at the very core of our mission and our identity as a Jesuit-Catholic university.

“The deplorable mischaracterisations and homophobic slurs directed towards our LGBTQ+ and Catholic communities were repulsive and offensive. To those… who were directly targeted and harmed by these hateful words, be assured that you are invaluable members of our Xavier family and you belong here.”