The Hidden Truth of College Athletics
When we created the brand ManEater, a chief reason we created it was because we witnessed first hand the mistreatment of women over and over again by football players in the Mississippi State program. While we can all say we make mistakes and things happen or that they’re just growing boys who didn’t know any better, certain mistakes still need to have consequences and those consequences should go beyond a slap on the wrist. At 17 or 18 years old how have we not taught these young men that hitting a woman is wrong? It shows that as a society we truly don’t value women. My business partner and I once witnessed a girl get punched in the face at a party by a MSU football player and the following week we all sat in the training room; coaches, players, etc. knowing what had happened, and acting like nothing wrong took place. There was no consequence and it was swept under the rug just like a lot of violent acts against women on sports teams. As women we didn’t take it seriously enough. I witnessed a friend of mine have to put on my sunglasses to hide the bruise on her eye from her boyfriend who was also a part of the MSU football team. The list could go on an on. When is someone in an administrative role going to step up and stop these acts from happening, or at least give real consequences? Beyond that, when will we see a male athlete truly take the role on and advocate for women. Truly call out the players and teams that are sweeping things like the examples I used above under the rug. Clearly women trying to fight for an issue as big as this is not enough. Although Charlie Strong lost his job because his record wasn’t the greatest, the great thing about him was his character and the character he was trying to instill in his players. He said, “If you hit a woman you can’t play for him.” This is in contrast to Dan Mullen allowing a recruit to still come to Mississippi State after attacking a woman on the ground because he is a five star recruit and could help him win games. I get that the point of sports is winning, but at the end of the day it’s a game. In the recent sports illustrated article written by Lindsay Schnell on Bob Stoop’s and his player Joe Mixon who was video taped hitting a woman received flak for making her article personal, by asking readers to imagine this woman being beat up as their daughter. Lindsay Schnell is right that this could be your daughter, niece, and sister, even your mother. Just because it hasn’t personally happened to you or someone you know you can look the other way. Possibly it is viewed as okay because they can throw a football or run really fast and they make your school look awesome with a winning football program. There is nothing awesome about violence and abuse against women and there is nothing great about a man who raises his hand to a woman. We’re idolizing people for something they have the ability to do and not on who they actually are as a human being and how they treat others. We need more men like Charlie Strong.