The Orion

Student athletes should be allowed to be activists

Dylan Dewit

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Illustration by Trevor Moore

No college football team has excited me more this year than the Oregon Ducks. But it was not because of anything related to their New Year’s Day win, but what happened after the last few seconds ticked off the clock.

During the celebration, after throttling Florida State, Oregon Duck players began a chant that had me more thrilled than any pass by Marcus Mariota ever could: “No Means No” to the tune of the Seminole war chant.

This was in response to Jameis Winston’s rape allegations, which surfaced on Dec. 7, 2012, when a Florida State student reported to Tallahassee police that Winston had sexually assaulted her.

The charges against Winston have since been dropped due to blatant errors by the Tallahassee Police Department and Florida State administration in their investigation or lack thereof.

As a result, the majority of evidence against Winston was deemed unusable in court. Winston has seen no consequences. He played the entire season and will most likely be a top-five pick in the NFL draft if he chooses to enter.

The University of Oregon has since disciplined the players chanting “No Means No.”

Wait, that can’t be right.

The guy who was accused of sexual assault played 14 games this season, but the guys that ridiculed him for his sketchy behavior are being disciplined?

Is it because they insulted another player? Another player who happens to be accused, and if the police had done their job correctly, most likely guilty of sexual assault? A guy that’s shamelessly tried portraying himself as a victim?

Or is it because we truly don’t want activism from our athletes?

We just want them to be quiet and play so we can veg out in front of our television sets and drool into an empty can of Pabst Blue Ribbon until the game is over or we pass out, whichever comes first.

It seems that the old faux pas of talking about politics or religion is so heavily ingrained in our society that we basically only talk about sports and “Game of Thrones” anymore.

So for the love of (someone), please don’t take away our mindless and practically meaningless obsession with sports and start talking about things that actually affect our lives.

There used to be a time when sports reflected and drove culture. Political statements were not only common in high-level athletics; they were celebrated.

But that was then. Welcome to the era of distraction.

Sports don’t represent our culture the way they once did. NCAA championships and the Super Bowl have become nothing but way-too-long commercials for Coca Cola, EA Games and Nike.

Campus rape is not an issue that can be ignored.

It may be the most important fight for equality this generation of students faces.

The only athletes that can truly make a difference regarding campus sexual assault and spur change by using their national platform are student athletes.

I applaud the Oregon players for the chant, and I’m disappointed it has resulted in punishment.

Because man — that was one hell of a play.

Dylan de Wit can be reached at [email protected] or @DylanTdeWit on Twitter.

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Student athletes should be allowed to be activists