College football teams should make news headlines for winning games and competing for national championships.
Not for this.
According to Phillip Erickson, of the Waco Tribune-Herald, “Baylor University on Tuesday night was served with a seventh Title IX lawsuit, which alleges as many as eight football players drugged a student and took turns raping her in 2012.”
This, mind you, is on the heels of a nine-month investigation by Pepper Hamilton, LLP, of Philadelphia, into allegations of sexual assault at Baylor.
Where I went to college.
Erickson’s report is chock full of vile, repugnant details, but let me just bring up a couple for your consideration:
“According to the suit, the football team had a system of hazing freshman recruits by having them bring freshman females to parties to be drugged and gang-raped, “or in the words of the football players, ‘trains’ would be run on the girls.””
Let that soak in a minute. Part of a freshman football player’s initiation to the team involved being part of a gang rape. With a woman that he brought!
Has the gravity of that hit you yet?
“Considered a bonding experience by the players, according to the suit, the rapes also were photographed and videotaped, and the plaintiff confirmed that at least one 21-second videotape of two Baylor students being gang- raped by football players had circulated.”
A bonding experience!!
Guys, you really feel closer as teammates after raping a drugged woman together?
The report goes on to say the alleged victim and her mother met with an assistant coach from the team, gave him the names of the players involved, and never heard from him again. She was subsequently harassed by several players via text messages, discouraged by the school from taking any action, required to still attend classes with two of the players, and burglarized by members of the football team. (The items were later returned with the understanding no charges would be filed.)
Oh, and there was this:
The head football coach, Art Briles, had this to say after learning the names of the players involved: “Those are some bad dudes…why was she around those guys?” (italics mine)
Hear that, ladies? That’s why this girl was gang raped; she was around the wrong people! Never mind that she was brought to them! Even around males of questionable character, it still must be her fault somehow.
(Ladies, does that surprise you? I think I know the answer.)
Erickson’s report also describes the total institutional failure of the university in handling this incident, references another lawsuit, alleging 52 acts of rape (fifty…two!) by no fewer than 31 players, and updates the status of some of the players in the legal system. There is no update on the victim, other than as the plaintiff in this lawsuit. To the school’s credit, it has taken, and is taking, important steps to assure a safer environment there for all its female students. Perhaps someday, I can look on my alma mater with pride again.
But not today. Definitely not today.
How did it ever come to this?, you wonder.
Well, the fact is, my brothers, it all comes down to how we view and treat women. Period.
I honestly don’t know how but, guys, we have got to have a major attitude adjustment in this matter.
We have got to understand, women aren’t just sex toys. They’re not college hazing props, or a “bonding experience.” They’re not a bunch of filthy sluts, just waiting for a much deserved pounding.
They’re people, guys. They’re human beings. They are entitled to respect, and dignity, and equality.
And, none of them – I mean, none of them! – ever “asks for it.”
So, fellas, let’s hold each other accountable. You hear one of your buddies talking $#!t about a woman, call him on it. Yeah, you’ll probably catch all kinds of grief for it, but this is the time for, to borrow a movie title, A Few Good Men.
Change has to start somewhere, guys. Look in your heart and start there.