I blame the administration as much as I blame the athletes. This is a graphic play and a graphic production. People need to have an idea of what they are getting themselves into.
In no way do I condone this behavior but you need to have a conversation with these athletes when they set foot on any campus as to what is expected from them as representatives of the university.
This is why the work of Athlete Ally and groups like the Gay Straight Alliance, which serves as a bridge for gay and straight students in high school to form an alliance of inclusivity and nondiscriminatory behavior, is so important.
Unfortunately everyone was not raised with the morality and values to treat all people equally.
A representative of the Ole Miss athletes allegedly apologized — after being prompted by a member of the school’s academic staff — but many didn’t quite understand what they were apologizing for.
We see this epidemic affecting not only our youth but professional athletes, men and women as well.
As a board member for Athlete Ally, we have been proactive and provide sensitivity training to many schools from elementary up to university level, professional sports teams and corporations as well.
Organizations like Athlete Ally, GLAAD, HRC, GLSEN and the Trevor Project will continue to work tirelessly until everyone knows and understands that homophobia will not be tolerated and is no different than racism or sexism.
So before Ole Miss is quick to hand down punishment I would like to see them take a more holistic and proactive approach in educating students and student athletes alike. All you have to do is reach out and I will be happy to discuss how I can help you take the next step.”
– Brendon Ayanbadejo, former Super Bowl champ and passionate straight ally, in an open letter to educators at Ole Miss regarding members of the football team heckling actors during a production of The Laramie Project