In a Hyper-Macho Irish Sport, A Coming Out

March 25, 2010

by Henry Chu | Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Cork, Ireland — The handshake says it all: powerful, determined, tight enough to make you wince. It’s the grip of a man who stands his ground, and who challenges you for some of yours.

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Studies: Women Who Play Sports Fare Better

March 9, 2010

from CBS News

A study released last month shows girls who play team sports in high school are 20 percent more likely to graduate high school and 20 percent more likely to go onto college. A similar study indicates that female athletes are half as likely to become pregnant in high school. And a University of Illinois study found that female high school athletes are 7 percent less likely to become obese in middle age.

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The Saints Linebacker Who Speaks His Mind

February 3, 2010

by Joe Lapointe | New York Times

New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita addresses hot-button issues the way he might meet an opposing running back: directly.

So Fujita was not shy Tuesday about entering two Super Bowl debates that have little to do with his team’s game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

At issue are two Super Bowl television commercials, one about abortion, the other about gay rights.

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Mesa Coach Wins Damages in Retaliation Case

December 4, 2009

from Title IX blog

A jury in San Diego Superior Court found that Mesa Community College retaliated against former basketball coach when it terminated her position for speaking out against inequities in women’s athletics, in violation of Title IX. Lorri Sulpizio’s complaints had triggered an investigation by the Office for Civil Rights, which lead to an agreement by the college to remedy disparities in support and resources between men’s and women’s teams.

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Former Mesa College Coach Wins Bias Lawsuit

December 4, 2009

from San Diego Metropolitan Magazine

Lorri Sulpizio, former coach of the women’s basketball team at San Diego Mesa College, has won a favorable verdict from a California State Court jury from a lawsuit she filed in July 2008 against the San Diego Community College District. The jury awarded $28,000 — the equivalent of one year’s salary — in damages, finding that the district had retaliated against Sulpizio when she complained that Mesa engaged in gender inequities in violation of Title IX, a federal statute that prohibits discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance in the United States. Sulpizio, who claimed she was fired by the district after she complained, was represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Leslie Levy of Boxer & Gerson LLP, and Mattheus E. Stephens of Stock Stephens LLP. “This is a victory for the student-athletes who work so hard to succeed on the court and in the classrooms,” said Sulpizio. “They deserve nothing less than fair and equal treatment. I remain committed to Title IX and ending gender discrimination in sports, and this verdict inspires me to continue working for equality.”

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Former Mesa College Coach Awarded Damages

December 3, 2009

from the San Diego Union-Tribune

A San Diego Superior Court jury awarded former Mesa College women’s basketball coach Lorri Sulpizio $28,000 in damages after finding she had been retaliated against by the school for complaining about unequal treatment she perceived in its athletic facilities for women.

The $28,000 is equivalent to one year’s salary for Sulpizio, who sued Mesa in July 2008 citing violations of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on gender in federally funded education activities. Sulpizio was fired in 2007 after she made her complaints. She said no reason was given at the time for her dismissal.

“I’m really happy about it,” Sulpizio said. “We’ve been working on this for a long time. I’ve been committed to Title IX for a long time. I’m very pleased.”

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Victory! NCLR Wins Landmark Title IX Retaliation Lawsuit on Behalf of Former Head Basketball Coach

December 3, 2009

 

Dear NCLR Champion, 

Whoever said “victory was sweet” may have been a sports figure, or perhaps a lawyer vindicating the rights of a sports figure—say, for example, a lawyer vindicating the rights of a lesbian basketball coach fired from her job when she advocated for her student-athletes and complained about gender inequities in violation of Title IX. 

Whatever the origin of the phrase, trust me, today all of us here at NCLR are feeling the truth of it. This morning, after an excruciating month-long trial and after deliberating for almost three days, a jury in San Diego found that NCLR client Lorri Sulpizio had been the victim of retaliation in violation of Title IX and was entitled to damages. Title IX is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance in the United States.

This is a huge victory—and boy is it sweet. We have been representing Lorri, who was the basketball coach at San Diego Mesa College—in the second largest community college district in California—since the summer of 2007. Lorri called NCLR soon after she was fired. Through the months of worry and, at times, despair, neither we, nor Lorri, ever gave up.

What happened to Lorri was wrong and we knew something had to be done. But we also knew that victory was far from assured. Despite the protections of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on gender in sports and which also prohibits retaliation against a coach or player who complains about discrimination, winning such cases is difficult and litigating such cases is time-consuming and expensive. But between our legal team here at NCLR, led by our Senior Staff Attorney Amy Todd-Gher and our co-counsel, Leslie Levy of Boxer & Gerson, LLP, and Mattheus E. Stephens of Stock Stephens, LLP, and your unstinting support, we did it.

This victory is of course a vindication for Lorri and her family. They have had to endure so much pain, humiliation, and fear. But they stood strong and their courage has been rewarded with a victory not just for them, but for every future player or coach fired for speaking up and for being out. Wins like this force other potential violators of the law to think twice and empower other coaches and players to stand up and be strong.

We are so proud of Lorri, of our co-counsel, of this brave jury and of our terrific team at NCLR—particularly Amy and Helen Carroll, our Sports Project Director. Today we won one for our side. And we will win again.

Go Team Go!

To read more about this case, click here.

P.S. Your support is what helped us get over this finish line. We could not have done it without you, truly. Thank you.

P.P.S. Help celebrate this slam-dunk victory right now! Give $5 to NCLR via text on your cell phone—visit www.nclrights.org/givebycell to find out how.

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National Center for Lesbian Rights Wins Landmark Title IX Retaliation Lawsuit on Behalf of Former Head Basketball Coach

December 3, 2009

Jury Finds Title IX Retaliation at San Diego Mesa College

Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) secured a favorable jury verdict on behalf of Lorri Sulpizio, the former head coach of the women’s basketball team at San Diego Mesa College (Mesa), a college within the San Diego Community College District (District). The California State Court jury awarded $28,000, the equivalent of one year’s salary, in damages, finding that the District had retaliated against Sulpizio when she complained that Mesa engaged in gender inequities in violation of Title IX, a federal statute that prohibits discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance in the United States.

Sulpizio was represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Leslie Levy of Boxer & Gerson, LLP, and Mattheus E. Stephens of Stock Stephens, LLP.

“I am very pleased with the verdict,” said Sulpizio. “This is a victory for the student-athletes who work so hard to succeed on the court and in the classrooms. They deserve nothing less than fair and equal treatment. I remain committed to Title IX and ending gender discrimination in sports, and this verdict inspires me to continue working for equality.”

Filed on July 24, 2008, the lawsuit alleged that Mesa officials retaliated against Sulpizio after she repeatedly raised concerns about unequal treatment of female athletes and faculty, and ultimately fired her. The complaint was brought against the San Diego Community College District as a defendant at trial. The jury found that the District violated federal and state laws.

“This verdict should underscore for coaches and athletic directors in the California community college system—and in two-year colleges across the nation—that the protections of Title IX apply just as strongly as in any four-year college,” said NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Amy Todd-Gher, one of the trial attorneys on Sulpizio’s case. “Title IX is a statute that should be used to continue to open the doors wide for women to participate equally in college athletics, and to protect employees from retaliation when they have the courage to speak up in the face of gender inequities.”

Lorri Sulpizio served as head coach of the Mesa women’s basketball team for six years, from 2001-2007, after spending three years as an assistant coach. She led the team to championship play at tournaments, and secured several high-level finishes in the Pacific Coast Conference, including an undefeated conference Championship in 2002.

“This verdict vindicates a dedicated coach who has an excellent track record running successful basketball programs,” said NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll. “In a sports world with fewer and fewer women coaches, this verdict will hopefully put a stop to retaliation against coaches who advocate for gender equality.”

The case was tried in the department of the Honorable Judge Ronald Prager.


‘We Love You, This Won’t Change a Thing’

November 30, 2009

by John Buccigross | ESPN

Imagine this.

Well before you are born, your dad plays college hockey at Providence College and wears the “C” for Friars coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello. Your dad is then a member of the Calder Cup-winning Maine Mariners AHL team. He admits to having little skill, but contributes rough and tough qualities. You know, like pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. He’s a man, baby.

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Either/Or: Sports, Sex, and the Case of Caster Semenya

November 23, 2009

by Ariel Levy | The New Yorker

Caster Semenya, the current world champion in the eight hundred metres, was a member of the Moletjie Athletics Club until a year ago. She was born in Ga-Masehlong, a village about fifteen miles from the track, and she was, Coach Sako said, “a natural.” Even before Semenya left Limpopo for college, in Pretoria, she had won a gold medal in her event at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, in Pune, India, with a time of 2:04, eleven seconds behind the senior world record set by the Czech runner Jarmila Kratochvílová in 1983. “I used to tell Caster that she must try her level best,” Sako said. “By performing the best, maybe good guys with big stomachs full of money will see her and then help her with schooling and the likes. That is the motivation.” He added, “And she always tried her level best.” Semenya won another gold medal in July, in Mauritius, at the African Junior Athletics Championships, lowering her time by a remarkable seven and a half seconds, to come in at 1:56.72. This beat the South African record for that event, held by Zola Budd, and qualified Semenya for her first senior competition, the 2009 World Championships, in Berlin.

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