Lincoln resident Ron Brown, a running backs coach at the University of Nebraska, is in hot water for not making it clear that he didn't speak for the University and for giving the Omaha City Council his university address before the sermonette he gave the council about its faith (or implied lack thereof).
|Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska.|
Photo: BeatBoxBadHabit, Flickr
The Lincoln Journal-Star said this:
Brown did not mention FreedMen Nebraska during his testimony.Ron Brown agrees with his boss's boss: Not a good idea to give his address as 1 Memorial Stadium when testifying at an Omaha City Council meeting... his testimony drew a warning admonition from UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman...Perlman sent a letter to Brown, and the two spoke by phone, the coach said.Brown apologized to Perlman, he said."I had no intention of wanting to pull the University of Nebraska into my belief system, so I want to clarify that," he said.He should have given his home address, he said, but he spends so much time at Memorial Stadium. He also collects his mail there, and he thought -- naively -- the City Council wanted his mailing address, he added....Brown is well-known for his strong and vocal Christian beliefs; he's written several books, served as the leader of the state's Fellowship of Christian Athletes and received national attention last fall for leading the pregame prayer before Nebraska's game against Penn State.He lives in Lincoln but said he testified on an Omaha issue as the leader of his statewide ministry -- FreedMen Nebraska.
Here is the letter Chancellor Perlman sent the Daily Nebraskan, the Lincoln Journal-Star, and the Omaha World-Herald:
In a subsequent interview with Johnny Perez of the Omaha World-Herald, Brown played the victim, appearing not to understand that notoriety brings increased scrutiny and wondering why he was criticized for not emphasizing that he did not represent the university:Editor:The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska has made it clear that the university does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. And only the board can speak on university policy and practices. Recently Ron Brown, a Nebraska football coach, talked before the Omaha City Council in opposition to an ordinance that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Several people have written me asking if his remarks represent the position of the university. I want to be clear that they do not. The university defends the right of its faculty and students to participate in public dialogue and to express their personal views. I understand that there were also faculty and students from the university who testified in favor of the ordinance.We do ask individuals associated with the university to make it clear in their public statements that they are speaking only as an individual, and not on behalf of the university. Unfortunately in this instance Coach Brown did not make it clear in his comments that he was asserting his personal viewpoint and not representing the university. I have asked him to make that clarification explicitly in the future.Harvey Perlman, chancellorUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln
“However, in light of the context, I didn't think it was necessary and I didn't think it should be assumed that I was representing the university,” Brown said.
Brown also questioned whether he would have been criticized if he had testified in support of the anti-discrimination proposal.
“Should every employee from the University of Nebraska have to say that they're not representing the university?” Brown asked. “Would I have been OK if I was on the other side of the coin, in terms of if I was in favor of the proposal?”
|Tom Osborne photo by|
Scott Bruhn/NU Media Relations
Among those upset by Brown's remarks was John Carroll, a gay Omaha attorney who holds Nebraska football season tickets.
He criticized Brown's comments in an email addressed to NU Athletic Director Tom Osborne and head football coach Bo Pelini.
“With all that young gay kids are facing today, having Coach Brown stand up in a public forum and call them sinners, made me sick to my stomach,” Carroll wrote. “If Mr. Brown insists on exercising his First Amendment rights all the while spewing anti-gay rhetoric and threats of eternal damnation, please have him use his own address in the future.”
Osborne, in a reply, said Brown should not have listed his address as One Memorial Stadium and said he had addressed the matter with Brown.
“I can assure you that Ron's comments are reflective of his own views and do not represent those of the Athletic Department or the university,” Osborne wrote.