Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer sent a letter of apology to a campus lesbian and gay advocacy group for a team rule that punished "loafing" players by making them wear lavender jerseys during practice.
Meyer acted following a complaint from the Scarlet and Gay group, which took offense at the use of a "non-masculine" color often associated with the LGBT community to isolate an offending player in conditioning drills.
When the rule was introduced at a Feb. 15 news conference, junior linebacker Etienne Sabino said players were driven by the desire to avoid wearing a lavender jersey.
"You don’t want to wear those shirts at all," Sabino said. "Just loafing in general, you don’t want to get those. The lavender (jersey) is definitely motivation not to get any loafs."
Responding to the Scarlet and Gay complaint, Meyer said players pulling up short for the second time during drills would be made to wear another color other than the "purple" jerseys.
"The use of purple was never intended to be used to offend anyone, but since it has, we have taken steps to change the color," Meyer wrote in his return letter March 1. "Please accept our sincere apologies."
Meyer added, "We have core values of respect and honor within our program, and these are two principles that are central to my personal life, my coaching and to Ohio State and its athletics programs. Bias has absolutely no role in how we think or operate."
Scarlet and Gay president Tim Valentine welcomed the swift change.
"(Meyer) had a very fast response," Valentine told OSU’s campus newspaper The Lantern. "That said to us as an organization that he did care and was concerned about this being offensive to the community and a reflection of something he did not stand for."