HONOLULU (KHNL)- Coach Greg McMackin's controversial comments are the topic of national talk shows, websites and blogs and they're especially hitting home on the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus. At any college, people like professors and the university president are influential. But, students say as head of the Warrior football team, Coach McMackin is an icon. He's a leader, he's loved and now they're looking to him to show that even a single derogatory remark is serious.
"What the hell, what's up with that? He said it without even thinking about it. He said it a third time!," said UH Student Tommy Takahata.
Tommy Takahata is a member of "XYZ," UH's Gay/Straight Alliance Group.
"You don't defend yourself like that and make it more obvious," said Takahata.
After hearing McMackin say a gay slur several times, he's come to one conclusion.
"This is messed up," said Takahata.
He's not alone.
"It's not only gay students, but straight students as well," said UH Student Alissa Bautista.
"What the coach said was kind of uncalled for," said UH Student Leighton Hao.
"Disgusted, fearful, insulted," said PFLAG-Oahu President Carolyn Martinez Golojuch.
PFLAG-Oahu says just saying sorry isn't good enough.
"An apology is more than words, it has to be actions," said Martinez Golojuch.
The group says McMackin needs to make an example of himself. Some of its suggestions: Funding and staring in a public service announcement on abusive language, attending a diversity training with all athletic faculty and donating $10,000 to support a local gay support youth group.
"We finally have to say enough is enough," said Martinez Golojuch.
"People throw it around because they don't understand what it means, what kind of putdown and how derogatory it is," said Takahata.
And while some stand by and support the coach.
"I think it was just a slip up, I don't think he meant to say it," said Bautista.
Students say the bad judgement has left every warrior with a black eye.
"A really bad image for him as well as the University," said Takahata.