Within about 12 days, the Minnesota football team went from a competitive, honorable, and promising B1G 10 football team to what some might say is a disgrace to the name of the game. No, no one shaved any points, but I find it unfortunate that people think points shaving is a bigger disgrace to the game than when player(s) are caught for beating their wives, rape, or sexual harassment.
Just last week, the University of Minnesota suspended 10 players for their actions in a sexual assault incident back in September, and the team responded by announcing a boycott because they didn’t think those ten players were deserving of their suspensions. A few days later, once the players realized the feed back they were receiving wasn't very positive, they announced the end to the boycott. In the final press conference, they said they wanted justice for their “brothers" and for the victim.
First, let's make it very clear that in no way was the boycott for the victim. If they really cared about her and her situation, they would have acted like men and stood behind the University’s decision. It wasn't a social justice protest either, and if they wanted it to be one, they shouldn't have defended players that were suspended because they gang raped a young girl. Their little jock awakening was a huge mistake that will harm them and society more then they even know.
Obviously, the entire situation brought the issue of rape culture some well needed national attention. Believe it or not, there are people out there that don't think the current rape culture is an actual thing, let alone a problem.
Cases like these are detrimental to rape culture because they make victims feel alone, abandoned, and let down. Our rape culture blames the victim. Many people claimed this victim, in particular, was just a "cleat chaser" who knew what she was getting herself into when she went to that party. Defending the rapist; exhibit A that rape culture does exist.
Professional athletes, collegiate athletes, and the people holding them responsible for their actions all influence our society’s rape culture, but they also are what destroy's the reputation of good men, and good football players.
Today, it’s stereotypical to say that athletes beat their wives, harass women, or sexually assault them. That’s the image that is stuck in people's heads because of incidents that continuously happen with little punishment. For example, a little over 2 years ago former Raven’s running back, Ray Rice, received a 2 game suspension for beating his girl friend.
It might also be stereotypical to say all athletes are egotistical and self righteous. Some say it’s no surprise the Minnesota football team would stand by teammates who believe they don't deserve punishments for their actions. They say, "that's just how football players are".
I have a lot of football players as friends and family members. None of them are pro, or were ever close, but more importantly, they aren't rapist and none of them would have stuck up for a teammate that was. It's not fair for football players, male athletes, or regular guys to have to deal with this stigma. What Minnesota did tainted other football players reputations, the reputations of young male college students, and it tainted the name of the game.
If these "men" were tired of being pegged as your "typical athlete", they sure didn't act like it.
The Minnesota football team chose the need to play football over the need for justice. They chose to negatively influence and promote the rape culture, rather than try and change it.
The Minnesota football team didn’t just lose 10 players and some fans. They lost respect. Even if they win this bowl game today, I don't think they can win back what they have already lost.