For many sports teams across the country, student athletes are held at a high standard, not only in the sports program, but in the overall representation of each individual athlete.
Senior guard and forward Matthew Ozzella said that the men’s basketball team locker room is ‘pretty intense.’ “People go about their business differently. Some people are quiet and keep to themselves before games, and others are the rah-rah in your face type, but usually no matter if it’s quiet or loud, it’s intense,” Ozzella said.
Fellow senior and forward Owen Murphy said that when in the locker room, the players utilize that time to prep before a game. “Everyone is very focused in; they are thinking about getting in the right mental state. It’s a pretty positive environment, [but] at the same time, constructively criticized environment right before a game. [When we’re} ready to go, we know what we have to do,” Murphy said.
In the past few weeks, the ongoing talk about Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” has evolved into many sports teams coming out to talk about the prevention and awareness of sexual abuse.
The Keene State College men’s basketball team Head Coach and Worcestor Polytechnic Institute (WPI) graduate Ryan Cain took his approach on the situation.
When asked what he thought about the overall atmosphere at Keene State, he replied with a simple answer, “Tremendous. I believe the culture around the campus is very neat, specifically for our sport, and [I] have noticed the tremendous support from the Keene State College campus and also the overall Keene community in the last year. The community is very close-knit, and everyone from the school, city and the athletic department, I feel we all have a close relationship with one another.”
Coach Cain also mentioned that he stresses, whether it’s on or off the court, to each young gentleman in the basketball program to be a better man each day.
When asked about his view from the locker room and beyond, Cain said, “This is an interesting topic that we try to be proactive about and discuss with our guys everyday. We tell them first and foremost you need to be good people, whether it be on or off the court. The decisions you make, it needs to be present in your mind when making social decisions to being good people.”
Cain closed out his interview with mentioning the interaction between men and woman and said, “The student athletes are visible across campus, and their approach toward woman is extremely important to the situation…. Our boys enter in the M[entors in] V[iolence] P[revention] program, which is tailored toward woman and prevention against sexual abuse. In the past two years, our boys have gone through the training program. We try to go the other way in promoting the boys with positive and helpful tips when they are out and off the court.
The decisions made are very important. The locker room is taken the same way as most athletic programs have throughout the country, which is a “line” you don’t cross. We respect our community and the people in that community.”
Ozzella agrees with Cain when it comes to respect. Referring to Donald Trump’s ‘locker room talk’ he said, “Well, I guess that’s a completely different type of locker room talk. We [the men’s basketball team] wouldn’t talk about a women in that light in our locker room.”
Another familiar face in the KSC athletics department is men’s basketball Associate Head Coach Tyler Hundley who said, “As far as our guys [go], the guys get along with many people throughout the community. They have many different friends that they hang out with, as well as keeping close relationships with those people. Many people know the team as well as they know many people, and for a sense of the community, I think we embody that sense of the campus community in a smaller grouping. The team is very close to one another.”
Just like Cain, Hundley stresses the overall look of being a helpful and positive influence on the community every day during practices, as well as off the court.
From counseling services to the MVP program, student athletes at Keene State College take an approach to awareness and prevention toward sexual abuse.
According to Coach Cain the basketball program has taken more of an approach over these past few weeks to remind the players of being positive influences throughout the community.
The athletics department and Keene community as a whole has taken this situation into awareness and enforces displaying nothing but helpful and positive actions in the community.
Travis Thuotte can be contacted at Tthuotte@kscequinox.com
Shelby Iava can be contacted at SIava@kscequinox.com