BY WILLIAM PETROSKI — DES MOINES REGISTER
Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday he won’t order University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz to repaint the pink locker room for visiting teams at Kinnick Stadium, saying the governor shouldn’t “micromanage” the Hawkeyes football team.
Branstad, speaking at his weekly news briefing at the Iowa Capitol, was asked about objections to the pink locker room raised during the recent Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth. Schools that paint their locker rooms pink as a way to humiliate their opponents are sending a sexist message – and are setting themselves up for a lawsuit, said two lawyers who spoke at the meeting.
Branstad chuckled on Monday when asked about the issue.
“Well, I am not going to comment on the color of the locker room that they paint at the University of Iowa,” Branstad said. “Hayden Fry did that years ago, and this is not for the governor to try to micromanage what they paint the locker room. That is just not something that I am going to comment on. I don’t think it is something that is worthy of the governor interfering with.”
He added, “First of all, they are under the Board of Regents, which the University of Iowa is under that, and then the athletic department is under that So I am going to go down and try to tell the football coach what color he is going to paint the locker room? The governor should not be doing those things.”
Lisa Stratton, a co-founder of Gender Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group who spoke at the recent conference, said pink locker rooms are harmful because the message to the male athletes is that it is bad to be associated with any female traits. Jill Gaulding, the other co-founder of the Minnesota-based group,, said the pink locker rooms are about shame, implying that a football team’s opponents are girlish, dainty and weak.
University of Iowa spokesman Tom Moore recently told the Des Moines Register that the pink color was chosen “because of the belief that it would have a relaxing and calming effect on the visiting team.”
“While the Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education determines compliance with Title IX, we believe we are compliant,” Moore said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football