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Harvard women’s football squad condemns men’s team for lewd comments, rating their attractiveness

Joseph McCormick November 9, 2016
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The Nike match ball infront of rainbow flags during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Newcastle United at Vitality Stadium on February 24, 2018. (Catherine Ivill/Getty)

The women’s football team at Harvard has taken a stand after the men’s squad was suspended after they made sexual comments about them.

The men’s team had a tradition of rating the attractiveness of their female counterparts, which was uncovered by the Harvard campus newspaper the Crimson.

The document, created in 2012, included photographs of the female recruits as well as comments about their physical appearance.

An investigation concluded last week that the “appalling” comments had not been an isolated incident and that the tradition had carried on into the current season.

The men’s squad was suspended for the remainder of the current season over the documents.

Members of the women’s team have now responded in an open letter which condemns “locker room” culture, and slams anyone who participated, or observed the “tradition” as it happened.

The letter reads: “When first notified of this ‘scouting report’ each of us responded with surprise and confusion, but ultimately brushed off the news as if it didn’t really matter. As if we weren’t surprised men had spoken of us inappropriately. As if this kind of thing was just, ‘normal’.

“The sad reality is that we have come to expect this kind of behavior from so many men, that it is so ‘normal’ to us we often decide it is not worth our time or effort to dwell on. In all, we do not pity ourselves, nor do we ache most because of the personal nature of this attack.

“More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives. We feel hopeless because men who are supposed to be our brothers degrade us like this.”

The letter adds: “I can offer you my forgiveness, which is — and forever will be — the only part of me that you can ever claim as yours.”

In the UK this week, an out gay British racewalker and a former NBA star who is also openly gay condemned Premier League football for its “toxic” atmosphere of homophobia.

Gay footballers in the Premier League are held back by feeling unable to come out, top athletes told politicians.

Former NBA star John Amaechi and British race walker Tom Bosworth told MPS at a hearing on homophobia in sport that players would play better if they felt able to come out.

Related topics: crimson, football, harvard, soccer, US

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