Collegiate wrestler Paul Donahoe, kicked off the University of Nebraska team after posing nude on a gay porn site, was unapologetic about what he did and also is totally cool with gay people. Donahoe gave an extensive interview to the Boston Globe, where he discussed posing nude, being booted from Nebraska and his rebirth at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. Donahoe is favored to win the 125-pound class at the NCAA wrestling finals this weekend.
"I am straight, but on the forums people make a lot of gay jokes about me," he says. "I'm not too concerned. They can talk about me all they want, it doesn't matter. If a guy wants to be with a guy, who cares? ... "Obviously, I did it for the money. We kept thinking no one would ever find out because it was a gay website and we really wanted that money."
Donahoe's troubles started when he was paid several thousands dollars and flown to Los Angeles to appear naked solo on Fratmen.tv. He was contacted several times through his MySpace page before he agreed to pose ("They left me a lot of messages, so I thought, 'What the heck?' People do worse for money, so . . ."). In some of his images, an "N wrestling" tattoo (standing for Nebraska) was visible, on his left thigh. This is when his identity became known and his troubles began.
"They were supposed to cover it up but obviously they left it," he says. "Gay kids in Lincoln [Neb.] wrote, 'Hey, nice website. I saw you.' I wrote back, 'Don't tell anyone,' but with word of mouth, people found out."
Donahoe was tossed off the team but not out of the university. Nebraska self-reported the violation to the NCAA.
"They said I promoted my image," says Donahoe. "That's illegal in the NCAA rules. I had to pay all the money back, a couple of thousand, to a nonprofit.
"I believe it was unfair for Nebraska to dismiss me from the team. For one, there's plenty of athletes throughout the University of Nebraska who have had DUIs and who have been in fights and are still playing. But I guess that's OK. Posing nude, I guess, is worse than someone drinking and driving and risking someone's life, in their eyes."
Donahoe is unapologetic about posing for Fratmen as "Nash" (along with fellow Husker wrestler Kenny Jordan, also kicked off the team), though he did describe the whole experience as weird. He comes from a family torn apart by his parent's divorce and economically described his upbringing as lower middle class. He wound up at Edinboro University, but fell behind academically being 24 credits short, but is set to graduate in July. Initially, his Edinboro teammates were a bit leery, but Donahoe won them over.
"He's really cool," says Gillespie. "Before the season, a lot of people were talking bad about him. Like, 'We don't want him at our school.' Right now, he's proving people wrong. He's had to switch coaches, schools, friends, that had to be a pain. He's heard people yelling stuff like 'homo,' but none of that bothers him, he just brushes that all off."
Fortunately, the public was more understanding and forgiving than Nebraska officials. Donahoe says the reaction is more positive than negative and he has more than 1,400 friends on Facebook.
"I've had a ton of people Myspace me and say, 'I hope everything works out,' " he says. "I read them all. I'm thankful for people supporting me. The plan is to win this weekend. Watch ESPN. I'm pretty tough. Just say I'm a survivor."
Donahoe, 5-5 and 125 pounds, has used his dismissal as motivation, which helped him go 31-0 this season. If you want to watch him go for the title, tune into ESPN, Saturday at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Donahoe will face Cornell's Troy Nickerson in the finals.
I was so impressed by his answers to the Globe and his flatly not feeling at all sorry for posing nude. He did nothing wrong and brought a lot of smiles to gay men everywhere, and I'm not being snarky when I say that. He has zero to apologize for and I imagine no wrestler this weekend will have such an extended rooting section.