Do you remember the first time you were raped?
When you walked in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh?
The first time you lost, 48-0, on homecoming weekend?
That time you let the ball get by you into the goal in double overtime during playoffs?
Or when the officials made horrible calls that went in favor of the opposing team?
You know, the first time you were raped.
Mark Whipple, the University of Massachusetts Amherst football head coach, was raped in Saturday’s game in Athens.
Umass fell to Ohio, 58-42, in Athens on Saturday, Sept. 29. Whipple recalled the officiating as the worst he has ever experienced. When asked about a possible pass interference call against one of UMass’ receivers that did not draw a penalty, he did not hesitate to tell reporters of his assault.
“We had a chance there with 16 down and they rape us, and he picks up the flag,” Whipple told reporters. Whipple was suspended immediately after the media conference for Saturday’s game against South Florida.
The conversation of sex, sexual misconduct, and how sexual preference is addressed is too widely intertwined with modern sports references.
This slang I speak of is not just limited to rape, but also suicide.
I am more familiar with suicide as a dreaded sprint, usually ordered in a form of punishment, then I am with my immediate circle of friends, family, colleagues, etc. I am more informed by rape as a score then I am educated on prevention and the “do’s and don’ts” of being a bystander.
It’s a scary time.
The way sports and sexual innuendos have gone hand-in-hand with slang and terminology in the conversation revolving around sports have done nothing but allude to sex being a game and something you physical obtain. Or in more unfortunate circumstances, sex being something that it deserved.
Sex has morphed into an event where you can win and lose. Where you can score and the more wins you have the higher status you can reach. Almost like being inducted into the Hall of Fame of sexual contact.
That is how the sexual slang surrounding sports have impacted this culture negatively. I could write in lengths to the regards of the conversation around sex and how it needs to change, However that’s not why I write today.
Although I morally disagree with Whipple and his choice of words and how everything panned out, I cannot help but sympathize with him.
It’s a lot of pressure to be an athlete, or a highly regarded coach in one of the best conferences in College Football. The platform that can be bestowed upon a given athlete because of physical athletic advantages is not always a platform that will work in their favor.
Many athletes, or coaches, crumble in the pressure of the limelight.
Amidst the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Bill Cosby sentence, Urban Meyer’s mishandling of domestic violence allegation and just a year removed from the marathon trial of Larry Nassar at Michigan State, I couldn’t even fathom the pressure of being a head coach or having any form of political leverage by simply being an athlete.
Whipple reminds me of an old philosophical question, “If a tree falls in the middle of the forest, does it make a noise”? Some may argue no or yes. I argue that it doesn’t.
If no one is looking for the tree or trying to hear it fall.
It just falls.
But a tree that falls in the media room in a post game interview, makes a really loud noise.