By: Celia Carr- Assistant External News Editor
A group of football players at Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia have been suspended from the team after racist and sexist comments were posted on social media.
Six players are confirmed to be suspended from the team for the rest of the academic year and after the players met with the university’s athletic director, the school may implement further disciplinary action such as expulsion if it is warranted.
One of the tweets that a player sent out was “to that bitch that bit me last night. Hope your dead in a ditch, you are scum.” The other tweets included derogatory racist slurs, comments about women as well as homosexuals.
Since the allegations, most of the players have changed the privacy settings on their social media profiles to restrict the public from seeing their posts.
Steve Proctor, the St. Mary’s communications manager said about the sexist and racist tweets. “That was a violation of their athletic code of conduct”.
There are many other students at the university who have raised concern about how this will reflect on the school, especially because of the national headlines controversy surrounding a sexist chant that students were saying during frosh week in September which gained notoriety.
Proctor said that six of the nine tweets they are investigating were on the Twitter accounts of current football players and they were posted roughly a month after the university suffered the consequences of the sexist frosh chant. Proctor said on the matter, “This is unfortunate, this is against all the principles we’re working with. It’s against the culture of the university, but it underscores this is a culture that needs to be changed.”
It is not known yet whether or not the players will undergo any sensitivity training and it is also unknown how the suspensions will affect the athletic scholarships that many of the team members have.
Jonathan Williams of the group Students Nova Scotia says that research suggests some student athletes feel they are the immune from the rules of the university based on their imposed hierarchical status. He told sources, “It has been observed across universities that something needs to be addressed.”
“There was a recommendation in our review that universities ensure that all of their student athletes receive sexual assault prevention training, training about having a culture where people are looking out for each other, where there’s a respect for consent,” Williams told sources. Additionally he suggested that student athletes should serve as role models for the university. He mentioned how football players at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia took part in a photo campaign in an attempt to bring awareness to and end sexual violence against women.
David Murphy, the athletics director at St Mary’s said in an interview, “we really buckled down with the student athletes, I did, and we really put out you have to be very, very careful with social media. Don’t be doing this.” He also said, “I feel very badly that I let the university down.”