Hall of famer discusses gender identity within sports

MARQUETTE — Fall athletes at a local high school gathered Wednesday morning to hear a special presentation about gender identity within the realm of sports from a College Football Hall of Famer.

Donald McPherson spent his college days at Syracuse University tearing up the turf as the team’s quarterback. He even led the the team to an undefeated season in 1987.

Though several football–related titles are tied to his name, McPherson champions a few other titles like educator, activist and feminist.

For the last 30 years, he has dedicated his life to discussing social issues like bullying and men’s sexual and domestic violence against women. Wednesday, he discussed the latter with the fall athletes at Marquette Senior High School in a presentation entitled “You Throw Like a Girl.”

“The charge ‘You Throw Like a Girl’ really comes out of understanding where men and boys learn, what it means to be a boy, what it means to be a man, in a very narrow way,” said Donald McPherson. “It’s the challenge of being like a girl, but also what that says about how men and boys look at women girls as less than.”

Acts of sexual and domestic violence have shrouded athletics negatively in the recent decade. McPherson says one way to combat this problem is by opening up the conversation to address the hot button issues.

“I think it’s really to get them engaged in a conversation that they see themselves in, that they see as a part of their lives, that they should be a part of,” McPherson said. “Very often when people like myself come to a school or a campus, I come in and I go, but my job is really to keep them talking beyond the day.”

McPherson also presented his talk at Northern Michigan University this week.