Recently, the Harvard University Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise announced that the men’s soccer team was cutting their season short. A google document was released that showed a handful of players from the 2012 team sexually discriminating recruits for the Harvard women’s soccer team.
According to the New Yorker, this document was published in Harvard’s student newspaper, The Crimson. The article revealed that a few of players on the men’s soccer team in 2012 rated the recruits for the women’s team on a scale of sexual appeal. The Google document that certain players had created included unnerving descriptions of the physical characteristics of the women and their preferred sexual positions.
Since the incident had been reported, there has been massive outrage online and on social media, even prompting the six girls who were scouted to write an open letter about the incident.
As someone who has played soccer for the majority of my life and has followed the sport, behavior and actions like this disgust me. It disgusts me even more considering I was brought up to respect women no matter what.
Soccer is a team sport, and like most sports, it brings people together. It creates lifelong bonds and great friendships. Even playing soccer in high school, both the men and women’s teams would socialize and often play together for fun. There was never a sense that the women were inferior to us and the men were superior to the women, but actions like this belittle the beautiful game.
I’ve made some of my closest girl friends through soccer and they are some of my favorite people.I’m glad to say that none of them have ever had to deal with this sexual discrimination.
These friends are some of the strongest girls I know and great players in their own right, but I find it sad that there is still a stigma that male athletes are considered superior to female athletes.
For example, being a soccer fan and a fan of the United States National Team (both men’s and women’s), it is sometimes argued that the men’s team is superior to the women’s team, but the men’s team have yet to win a World Cup whereas the women have won three in the last 17 years.
According to TheFA.com (England’s Football Association), the Women’s World Cup was founded on Nov. 16, 1991, nearly 25 years ago. The FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup was founded in 1930, nearly eighty years ago. Some fans argue that the women’s team has easier opposition, but all of this shows is how far female soccer players and athletes in general have come.
Being a male college student, I unfortunately feel as if there is a stigma and general feeling that the majority of male college athletes feel superior to their women counterparts. It is a shame that the majority of women on college campuses have to deal with harassment and discrimination, whether it’s sexual or verbal, and it’s even more of a shame when female athletes are discriminated because of their gender.
Women should feel safe on college campuses, and especially on their respective sports teams as well. They should never feel like they are inferior or less of an athlete than their male counterparts.
What I find even more unfortunate is the fact that women athletes have come so far in the past half a century and they are still being treated as if they are objects and not people or athletes. They have overcome social norms and shown the world that women athletes are not and will not be inferior to their male counterparts. It’s shameful that these college athletes who want to pursue a career as a professional athlete or even just playing for fun have to deal with this kind of discrimination.
In my opinion, male athletes and young men in general should never discriminate against or treat women like objects.
It infuriates me that I have to witness this as a male college student, but when I say this, I am not saying that all male athletes and young men are like this. I only speak about the slim minority of players and men who possess this manner of thinking.
To the players of the 2012 Harvard men’s soccer team, I say this: you should be very ashamed of yourselves. To all the other men and male athletes who are disgusted by this like I am, I say this: stand up and unite against this type of discrimination and protect your fellow teammates, both male and female.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at Lstergiou@kscequinox.com