A geography teacher and assistant high school football coach in Texas reportedly liked tweets that took issue with Pride Nights at Major League Baseball parks across the country.
OutSports editor and co-founder Cyd Zeigler tells Out he woke up on the first day of June and Pride Month to find a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ tweets directed at him in response to a report from the Dallas Morning News about the refusal of the Texas Rangers to host a Pride Night. The baseball team remains the lone MLB holdout when it comes to hosting a Pride Night. Zeigler later saw that Seminole High School's world geography teacher and assistant football coach Cody Reeves liked a series of some of the explicitly anti-LGBTQ+ comments posted in response to that story.
One of the comments liked by Reeves likened Pride Night to "having a murderer night or adultry (sic) night" while another thanked the team for not using the league to "celebrate the choices of Sexual Activity some persons make!" Another mockingly asked if there were any plans for a "huge schlong" night because the poster wanted to "sit on the front row" due to his allegedly prodigious endowment. The rest of the series of tweets that Reeves reportedly liked mocked and disparaged both the LGBTQ+ community and the entire concept of Pride Night, at times marginalizing queer folks even further by comparing them to criminals.
When Zeigler first reached out on June 1 to the Seminole School District where Reeves is employed, he was told by David Williams, director of human resources for the district, that Reeves’s comments were made as a private citizen and did not reflect the views of the school district. Zeigler reported that Williams assured him of either a phone call or email from District Superintendent Kyle Lynch within the next 24 hours. Zeigler tells Out he’s heard nothing from Lynch, Williams, or the district since that day despite repeated phone calls, emails, and messages.
"My hope from the first time I reached out to the school was to create a dialogue," Zeigler tells Out via email. "Unfortunately, the coach and the school have not been interested in talking about this despite initially telling me these beliefs don't reflect the school district. If they don't, then the school and the coach owe an explanation to the community, some of whom are LGBTQ, about how these beliefs are not creeping into the classroom and the locker room. Because if I were a parent with a kid in and around Coach Reeves, I'd want some answers."
Out former National Football League offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan told Zeigler and OutSports coaches have an elevated role as a mentor to many of the students-athletes they coach, saying that "for a lot of high school athletes, the coach, besides your parents, is the person you look up to most" during their formative adolescent years. He noted how the apparent homophobic beliefs of Coach Reeves would create a difficult environment for closeted or LGBTQ+ players.
"I don’t know how this coach would be able to separate such feelings toward the gay community online and not have it flow into the locker room or the classroom. I understand he has a freedom of speech, but he’s a mentor," O’Callaghan told Zeigler and OutSports. "He needs to do better."
O’Callaghan told The Advocate his own high school experiences relied on stereotypes and the use of his size to hide his sexuality, which he chronicled in his autobiography, My Life on the Line.
"High school is a complicated time, and I really relied on a lot of stereotypes and used those to my advantage," he told The Advocate in an exclusive interview last year. "Back then I’d rather be known for being an asshole or a bully than anyone getting any sort of hint that I was gay."
On his personal webpage for students at Seminole High School, Coach Reeves claims "RESPECT is required!" and one way to show respect is to "refrain from calling names that are derogatory." He also tells students that "behavior that is not respectful" would not be tolerated.