California Polytechnic State University rescinded a full wrestling scholarship to an 18-year old star recruit after he was caught on video yelling an anti-gay slur at a rally in his hometown of Oakdale in suburban Modesto, California on June 30.
Bronson Harmon and his father were present at the Families Belong Together march and rally and were among counter-protesters supporting the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border, the Modesto Bee reported.
In the video, posted on Facebook by Modesto resident Abdul Lasaing, Harmon is seen holding a 2016 Trump campaign poster facing the camera, at which point he realizes he’s being recorded by Lasaing and yells “Fuck you, faggot!”
On the post that accompanied his video, Lasaing wrote: “I and a group of people were already walking back to our vehicles after the #KeepingTheFamilesTogether march; when I heard a group of men shouting and trying to scare us … I was so in chocked [sic].”
Lasaing continued, “I was flipped off and called a faggot for either my dark skin color or my #WorldPeaceSign?? Not sure.”
During an interview with the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Harmon justified his remarks with a partial apology: “Saying what I said is definitely not the right thing. I am supposed to be there to help the community, be the best person I can be and represent the college the best way I can. But I still feel like my freedom of speech was taken away and I don’t think my scholarship should have been revoked over something like that.”
The Tribune’s editorial board disagreed: “Harmon’s scholarship wasn’t revoked because he made a political statement. He was stripped of his scholarship after video surfaced of his homophobic outburst. He’ll face other consequences as well, which include having his past come back to haunt him when future employers Google his name.
He does, however, still have the opportunity to attend Cal Poly. He also can learn in other ways.”
A spokesperson for Cal Poly’s Athletic Director Don Oberhelman, declined to comment in a phone call Friday with the Los Angeles Blade, other than to acknowledge that the university was aware of the video before the athletic department made its decision.
Reporting by The Modesto Bee, The San Luis Obispo Tribune, the staff of the Los Angeles Blade and wire service reports.