Camille LeNoir was a basketball star at USC before becoming a second-round WNBA draft pick for the Washington Mystics in 2009. She went on to play in Greece, but now says she was denied a coaching job by New Mexico State Univeristy because she is a heterosexual.
Last April, Mark Trakh, LeNoir’s former coach at USC, offered her an assistant coach position on the women’s basketball team. But just before she was set to start, he rescinded the offer, citing a 2011 interview LeNoir did with Christian YouTube channel The Forerunner, in which she discusses homosexuality as a sinful act she fell into before finding her way out.
In the video, seen more than 60,000 times, LeNoir discusses how homosexuality has “become the norm” in women’s basketball, and how competition, teamwork, and other facets of the game are un-Christlike, including “idol worship, greed, the level of money, the hatred, the envy.”
“Everything that Jesus preached from the Sermon on the Mount contradicts everything the sports atmosphere promotes,” says LeNoir, 31. “Everything.”
LeNoir is suing New Mexico State for discriminating against her religious beliefs and sexual identity, as Trakh specifically cited the video as the reason he withdrew the job offer. He also reportedly encouraged her to have the segment taken down.
In court filings, the school insisted LeNoir’s negative comments about homosexuality would have “an adverse impact …. [on her] ability to effectively coach and recruit players who identify as LGBT.” But it also maintains the offer was not legit—that Trakh made his offer “without the knowledge or approval of any other employee or agent of NMSU.”
LeNoir countered that responsibilities and salary had already been decided, but then Trakh called to ask if she still believed what she said in the video. “So I shared with him that I did,” she testified, “and that I was no longer in that lifestyle.”
In her chat with The Forerunner, LeNoir claimed she “fell into” lesbianism her junior year of high school, referring to it as a friendship “that went too far.”
Breaking her hip at a pivotal time in her playing career was actually a message from God,” she says in the video, “My wake-up call.”
“I never thought I was gay—I didn’t change the way I dress. I didn’t start dressing like a guy or anything like that,” she says in the video. “But, man, I was still professing to be a Christian while I was in it.” While she felt in love in her last relationship, “it was just a constant wrestling with what I know the Bible says, my family says, and my emotions.”
She also advised others, “If you are in a same-sex relationship, it is not worth losing your soul… If you believe something that you were born gay or homosexual or whatever—if you feel you were born that way—I would say that you weren’t. God wouldn’t create you homosexual, then say in the Bible that it’s wrong and send you to Hell. He doesn’t operate like that.”
Beyond the “sin” of lesbianism, LeNoir also claimed God has “shown me just how evil sports really are.”
She now trains basketball players in Los Angeles both privately and as an assistant coach at Bishop Montgomery High School. Her lawsuit against NMSU was filed in California, where a federal judge decided it could move forward in U.S. District Court.