Tuesday night 20 freshmen of the Ole Miss football team went to a play, as was required by their 100 level theater class. The play was “The Laramie Project” and is the story of Matthew Shepard. Shepard was a University of Wyoming student who was killed because he was gay. During the play many of the students watching, led and egged on by the football team members, began to yell gay slurs and hate speech at the actors. Not long after the story broke Deuce McAllister, former running back for the Ole Miss Rebels and the New Orleans Saints, tweeted this:
When I saw his tweet I decided to respond.
I obviously could have been more subtle, but I was upset that someone would try to minimize hate speech. Especially someone who has a lot of sway with the fans and alumni of the school where the hate speech occurred.
Yeah, I read the full statement Deuce, just saying you “don’t approve” doesn’t give you an out try to minimize hate. That’s like punching me in the arm and saying I can’t get mad because you aren’t a violent person.
At this point I had decided that engaging Deuce wasn’t going to make a difference. So I didn’t tag him.
But Deuce wasn’t done. Just because something could happen somewhere else, doesn’t excuse it when it does happen at your school. This would be like saying that a murder could happen anywhere, so Chicago shouldn’t up their police force when they have 150 murders a month.
That ridiculous argument broken, we move on to a new even more ridiculous line of argument.
This has nothing to do with the problem, it doesn’t take someone from Mississippi to see the right and wrong in this. This is similar to when pro-football players claim that only former pro-football players should have an opinion about pro-football. It’s just a lame attempt to cast doubt on my credibility instead of backing up his own points. (Because he can’t.) But since you want to go down this path…
Deuce doesn’t want to talk to me anymore though… so he finally tweets this.
I understand where Deuce is coming from. He doesn’t want Ole Miss to look bad and he knows that the majority of kids at Ole Miss aren’t like this. But this is also the school that had a rally to burn Obama signs and yell racial slurs after the last election; not to mention Ole Miss’ extensive history of racial strife.
Trying to find excuses and outs doesn’t help Ole Miss in the long run. Only facing up to the problems and addressing them can solve this. I don’t want to see 1/4 of the football team suspended, but I do want to see Ole Miss take this seriously. Twitter is full of Ole Miss fans stating “enough with this, we have a football game Saturday.” And that’s the problem here, Ole Miss doesn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of this situation. Ole Miss didn’t even release an official statement until almost 24 hours after this happened.
There seems to be a feeling of “it’s only about homosexuality” from Ole Miss. If this was a play about lynching, and the slurs were racist, would Deuce and Ole Miss have reacted this way? Would the Ole Miss fan base? We have to stop thinking that racial bigotry is worse or different from any other kind of bigotry. What motivates a bigot doesn’t determine how bad the bigotry is. It’s all bad.
I’m not asking Ole Miss to be a leader in open mindedness, just join the rest of us in 2013.
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Lightly Buzzed or Fansided.