Apparently, the kind of passionate fandom that every athlete in America grows up dreaming to play in front of is not sitting well with officials at Tufts University. Following an investigation by the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity, some seemingly misguided, quite hilarious remarks made by players on the men’s lacrosse team have garnered 27 of them two-game suspensions to start the forthcoming season, with some facing further punishment.
In a heralded show of support for their fellow Jumbos during a women’s volleyball game versus Smith College, the university’s lacrosse players allegedly showed up well-imbibed with the aim of rooting on their girls as they took on the Pioneers, hailing from an exclusively female liberal arts college.
Courtesy of an accusatory op-ed piece published by Tufts student Rose Barrett in days following the September 21st incident, I’m fortunate enough to be able to share with you some of the lax bros’ purported jeers:
When a player squatted to receive a serve: “Look at those childbearing hips!”
Commenting on a player’s build: “Whoa, we got a big one!”
Every single time a particular Latina player made contact with the ball: “Hey Sonia — Sonia you suck!” “Sonia, you fucked up!” “That was all your fault, Sonia! You’re gonna get deported!”
“Hey number five, I bet you have a tight butthole!”
“Number seven! Number seven, where’s your boyfriend?”
“Woo, look at those volleyball shorts!”
“Hey! My sister’s your boyfriend!”
Get it? The team was from Smith. Funny, right?
To that last statement – YES Rose, every single one of these comments IS funny. Sincerely, I can’t help but picture Blake, Anders, and Adam Demamp strutting into this game, raucous as can be, with the full intention of giving these Smith Pioneers a piece of their mind.
But maybe, Rose, we don’t share the same taste in humor, seeing as you’re majoring in religion and everything. It’s almost like you don’t have any appreciation for school spirit either, because if you did, you’d know that the wonderful affirmations of Tufts’ pride offered by these dudes actually propelled the Lady Elephants to win the match in three straight sets…
Following the investigation, which lasted over four months (struggling to understand this, too) a university official released this statement, per the Boston Globe:
“We want to stress that the behavior documented in the OEO investigation would be unthinkable in a classroom or a residence hall,’’ they wrote, “and it is equally unacceptable at a sporting event. There is no scenario within collegiate team sports that would support the use of race or gender as the basis for jeering, heckling or taunting members of a team.’’
It’s kind of ludicrous to think a university would bench more than half of their lacrosse team, likely guaranteeing two losses to start the season, in light of these ostensibly innocuous comments. I mean, this is what fans do at sporting events. Who knows, maybe the Tufts bros had some coin on the line here? At that point, every advantage possible is a necessary, and I’m not about to rule anything out here. To further exacerbate their suspensions, the Jumbos players are also assigned the wildly juvenile task of penning letters of apology to both teams and their coaching staffs.
Riddle me this, Tufts’ Office of Equal Opportunity – to what extent of harassment do you think an opposing NCAA quarterback is subjected to on any given Saturday playing away from home?
The answer is: things so exponentially worse and not nearly as humorous as the things heard in Cousens gymnasium that evening. I’m talking attacks on their talent, appearance, sexual orientation, family members, and when I get really drunk, maybe a death threat or two.
Criticism from opposing fans has been absolutely central to the nature of athletic competition for all of recorded history. In America, sports represent one of the grandest microcosms of our society: there are winners, losers, and rivalries formed along the way. Boisterous comments, like those heard on that fateful September night, happen at every single game, in every single sport, played across the nation.
As the old wise man’s adage goes, “If you can’t take the heat, stay in the kitchen.”
[via The Boston Globe]
Image via Gamebattles