A week ago I wrote about Donald Trump’s rebound at the polls, and noted, among the factors, this…
B. This just in, from The Harvard Crimson: Female soccer recruits at Harvard were rated for their attractiveness by their male counterparts – and a sleazy document speculated on their favorite sexual positions. A ‘scouting report’ from 2012, has emerged, containing sexually explicit comments about women, alongside photographs of them. One soccer recruit was described as looking “like the kind of girl who likes to dominate, and likes to be dominated.” The nine-page document assigned each woman a hypothetical sexual position. This document was shared between members of the Harvard 2012 men’s soccer team, and scouting report appears to be a yearly tradition.
Wait…how can this be? When Donald Trump tried to explain away his vulgar conversation with Billy Bush as “locker room talk,” the news media sprinted to prove this was just another lie. Why, athletes in all-male settings never denigrate women or objectify them among team mates! Absolutely not!
Now we learn that Harvard has cancelled the men’s soccer season as punishment for “the widespread practice of the team’s players rating the school’s female players in sexually explicit terms,” reports the New York Times.
The university commenced an investigation the men’s team after The Harvard Crimson reported last week, in the piece that prompted the Ethics Alarms note, that a player created a nine-page document in 2012 with numeric ratings, photos and lengthy evaluations of the freshman recruits of the Harvard women’s team based on their physical appearance. Apparently the practice had become a tradition.This was the response from the women’s team:
“Locker room talk” is not an excuse because this is not limited to athletic teams. The whole world is the locker room…. We are hopeful that the release of this report will lead to productive conversation and action on Harvard’s campus, within collegiate athletic teams across the country, and into the locker room that is our world….”
Was cancelling the soccer season a fair, responsible, proportionate and ethical response by the Harvard Administration?
I’m not going to lay all my ethics cards on the table immediately on this one. For now I’ll just list a few random thoughts…
1. All of the players on the team lost the chance to play, whether they were part of the ranking activity or not.
2. Funny…I thought college coaches were teachers, and were responsible for training Harvard men to be gentlemen. Or is that an old-fashioned concept?
3. Does this mean that it is now an offense at Harvard for male students to think impure thoughts about women? To express those thoughts in the company of other men? To get caught expressing such thoughts?
4. If Harvard had credible evidence that the women’s soccer team sat around after a game making cruel, sexually degrading statements about the men’s soccer team, what would be its response? What would be the offense?
5. Will Harvard punish students for listening to hip-hop music that denigrates women? How about male students playing such songs in the locker room? How about female athletes playing them in the locker room?
6. Regarding the women’s team statement: would “locker room talk” be excusable it it was limited to athletic teams? Are students responsible for the fact that some people keep acting juvenile after graduation? How about high school athletes: should they be punished for the crude tendencies of the world’s men? Middle school athletes?
7. Was the team’s punishment so harsh because of Donald Trump and Billy Bush?
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