When we last heard from Katie Hnida, she had gone from being known as the first woman to play for a Division I-A team, to alleging rape and sexual harassment at the hands of her Colorado teammates.
No charges were filed, and Buffaloes coach Gary Barnett said, “Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There’s no other way to say it. She couldn’t kick the ball through the uprights.” But while Hnida transferred to New Mexico (and became the first woman to score in a game), Barnett was eventually suspended and fired as it became known just how bad an Animal House-type atmosphere he had nurtured at Colorado.
Hnida’s still in the news, and will be receiving an award this week — for speaking out about her experiences, not for being a good football player. Obviously. But the real news is, she’s still playing football.
Hnida will be honored by Moving to End Sexual Assault this Friday. The ceremony will be held at the Boulder Municipal Airport, which lets you know this isn’t the Nobel Prize or anything.
“She’s really shown great strength, and in terms of what we’re honoring, that is Katie Hnida,” said Deirdre Moynihan, MESA’s development director. “She reaches out to other people, and that’s very important to show.”
Hnida’s apparently made her living on the speaking circuit since leaving New Mexico in 2004, but buried in the story from the BOULDER DAILY CAMERA is the note that she’s currently kicking for the semi-pro Colorado Cobras.
Hnida’s become a bit of a punchline in sports, so it’s surprising that she’s still kicking, so to speak.
At this point I must remind you that semi-pro also means semi-amateur. To give you a sense of how amateurish, the Cobras are the kind of team that lists the coach’s home phone number on its website, along with his email address - and it’s an AOL account. The team doctor is one Dr. Dave Hnida, Katie’s father. I’m honestly not sure which one had the clout to get the other on the team.
The Colorado Football Conference doesn’t pay its players, and they in fact must pay for their own equipment, travel and medical insurance. So, many props to Katie and her teammates who play for the love of the game, or the hope of making the big show one day.
Perhaps oddly for a team that features a player who knows a little something about sexism in sports, the Cobras have their own dance squad, which provide “Charming Entertainment and Community Service.” And yes, Katie is more attractive than any of them.