Editor's note: Fawn Yacker is director of the award-winning film 'Training Rules,' about homophobia in Penn State's women's basketball program. She is currently working on a project about homophobia in men's pro sports.
Joe Paterno describes the current “tragedy” at Penn State as "...one of the great sorrows of my life."
He should add to that list the devastating harm he did in protecting women’s basketball coach Rene Portland while she blatantly discriminated against the women on her team who she presumed were lesbian. She was public about her practices until 1992 when Penn State included sexual orientation in their non-descrimination policy.
Apparently that didn't stop Portland. In 2005 Jennifer Harris, a star player for the Lady Lions, was dismissed from the team. She charged Rene Portland, Tim Curley and Penn State with discrimination based on her perceived sexual orientation. Penn State tried to wiggle out of it saying that their non-discrimination policy was not a legal document. The case was settled in 2007. The film Training Rules depicts the 27 years that Portland was able to wreak havoc on the lives of so many of her players while Paterno and the university did absolutely nothing to stop her.
You can reach Yacker via email.