Stop the Madness: Athletes can be rapists

By Tess Fox

Even though this has been my first season participating in March Madness pools, brackets and religiously keeping score of games, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth when I read about Yale University’s men’s basketball captain.

An unnamed woman accused Jack Montague of rape in October of 2014. The two became involved and slept together three times consensually. The woman said the fourth time was not consensual. Montague was expelled. The Yale University Wide Committee issued a ruling in early March.

“Only about one out of 10 cases ends in expulsion, and the decision to expel a student is made only after the most careful consideration, based on the facts and, when appropriate, disciplinary history,” university spokesman Thomas Conroy said to CNN.

 

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Students at Yale University write supportive messages to survivors of sexual assault in early March.

 

The Yale university-wide committee concluded that he violated the school’s sexual misconduct policy. New Haven and Yale’s police departments have received no complaints about Montague. His lawyers have questioned the woman’s story. She has said that after being raped, she came back to spend the night with Montague. I can see how this may seem fishy to the lawyers. But think of it this way, the woman was probably feeling all kinds of emotions. A man she had begun seeing had just violated her after having a consensual relationship. She was probably confused, hurt, angry, sad, scared, any number of emotions.

This is the first time in 54 years that Yale has been to the NCAA tournament, so naturally, Yale basketball fans were quick to side with Montague. Teammates continued to wear his jersey and other t shirts supporting Montague to games. However, there is nothing sportsmanlike about supporting a rapist.

Montague has averaged 9.7 points per game during the season and is the fourth-scoring player.

Many news organizations talked about the rape allegations overshadowing the Yale team’s season. CNN seemed to soften the blow by using the phrase “non-consensual sex” instead of what it really was, rape. Montague was expelled for raping this woman. Giving a softer phrase to the very real, very horrible act of rape does not end the stigma. Whatever the sex act, if anyone says no, it’s rape. Language is important.

Yale’s campus responded with several events aimed to show support for victims of sexual assault. A Chalk-In was held on campus on March 10. During the four hour window, hundreds of students and faculty gathered to write messages of support on the sidewalk with chalk. One read: “Imagine if Yale men cared as much about ending rape culture as they cared about sports.”

Imagine that. Imagine if a football player accused of hitting his girlfriend was shunned by his teammates, put to trial immediately. Imagine if a rapist was expelled and his teammates were upset, and then moved on without proclaiming support for the rapist. Imagine a world which takes women seriously in their allegations.

Incidences like this make me question becoming a sports reporter. Looking at Jack Montague’s case and the case of Erin Andrews, I’m scared. Women who enter the sports world are thrown under the bus again and again because athletes can do no wrong.

I would like to say that the only people who know what happened that night are Montague and the unnamed woman. Because I was not in the room, I don’t know what happened. But why would someone go through all the pain of accusing a high-profile student on campus if not for justice?

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