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To the editor:

Thanks Uncle Sherwin (HJ letter, Jan. 5) for clearing the air about the toxic environment surrounding sexual assault victims. Coach’s recognition of the newfound glamour of a precious few trailblazers is rather dismissive of the hype centered on the hyper-masculine sport that seduces millions of Christians to sacrifice their Sundays, paint their faces, and make their pilgrimage to pay homage to meccas around the U.S. Male egos are served with ample amperes channelled into televisions streaming side-lined women (Maria Taylor handled that last mess respectably), and head-crushing entertainment which celebrates power, rage, and the execution of objectives at any cost. Maybe not any cost, because the $100B industry is capped, but also doesn’t reflect the contributions of little league coaching, unpaid college athletes or the medical injuries that get farmed out to Big Pharma and communal insurance which has anomalously consistent growth each year.

I hoped when this came to light under President Cockett’s victim advocacy, safety and awareness watch, that our first female president could clean up the old boy’s club. It’s comical that we have public-facing men instructing players on how best to “safely” prey on women while skirting around the scant legal safeguards that exist to provide protection during conflict. I’m happy to see that, upon exposure and reflection, one of the men has stepped down.

To Coach Blake: Resign. Those closest to you defend your integrity and authentic way of life, and I have no reason to disagree with their accounts. However, there is no shortage of positions for quality coaches who successfully ride the transfer wave and turn around troubled programs. Your time here will be celebrated for the Cinderella Story and you’ll probably make more at a better funded school. Your absence will help our community heal from the hundreds of assaults each year on our young women, some of whom are brave enough to report their experience through demeaning and dismissive channels like the police.

To President Cockett: Cancel next year’s season. Send the message that no amount of glamorous success on the field can justify enabling abuse of and predation on our vulnerable community members. Help those victim’s voices gain the confidence to step out of the shame, guilt and gas-lighting of our misogynistic memories and into a well lit future marked with justice, accountability and hope. Six or seven community vigils could replace game-days to raise awareness, educate and bring together disparate groups from across campus and the community. Years from now it would look like intermittent fasting that helped us drop the weight of the baggage that burdens us down today.

To the youth trying to navigate today’s sexual landmines: Be safe. Watch for, and document consent. Be careful not to victim-blame.

Shawn Seamons


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