York University rugby team have been caught posting racist comments on their Twitter account. What I find probably the most depressing aspect of this story is the fact few people are likely to be surprised. This is yet another case of the rugby “lads” and “banter” going too far.
The rugby team appear incapable of going a term without doing something to embarrass either themselves, (see Ziggy’s smoke bomb “joke” last term) or the University as a whole. By posting on their official feed, they have associated the University with the kind of casual racism thought to have long disappeared. Nice one lads.
The feed has around 150 followers, including major companies such as KPMG, and is looked at by prospective students. What kind of message is that sending out to those executives and future students?
The rugby team appear to have tried to hide the tweets – deleting them the morning after and only issuing a formal apology after being confronted with the evidence. Deleting the tweets was sensible, but it in no way redeems their actions. It is a shocking indictment on the mentality of those involved that they thought that was an acceptable course of action.
Chances are not much is really going to be made of this. We are all shocked, and will remain so for the next couple of days. But really, I suspect most peoples’ reaction will be rolled eyes and a sigh for the “typical” behaviour of the rugby team. This attitude that it is ok for members of this society to behave in such a way has got to be changed.
“something needs to change in how we view the behaviour of the rugby team ”
The ability to chuck a ball across a field, a talent for downing 15 pints in one go and the subsequent elevated status across campus as a our University ‘sporting heroes’ does not entitle you to behave like a idiot every time you get pissed.
By all means I am not saying that everyone who plays rugby for this university fits the above description. Most of the rugby club has reacted with disgust at the actions of a few drunken members during a night out.
But although action at the highest level is now being taken, why is it that an attitude of tolerance towards the team’s behaviour persists? The actions of a few should not condemn the entire club, but something needs to change in how we view the behaviour of the rugby team.
Whilst they undoubtedly piss a number of people off, people on campus are remarkably tolerant of their “laddy” antics. The campus-wide resignation of such behaviour only perpetuates the stereotypical, and often completely false, image of the average rugby player. It is in both the rugby club’s interest, and the University’s, to see that image changed.