WAYLP, it appears the problems keep piling up for Coach Kevin Sumlin and company in College Station. The Aggies made the headlines the other day when they suspended their offensive line coach, Jim Turner and their special teams coordinator/tight ends coach, Jeff Banks, for two weeks without pay following an offensive and explicit slideshow presentation during the “chalk talk” portion of their ladies clinic. The slideshow began with a parodied version of the Texas A&M fight song that featured sexist phrases such as “we are putting down our dish towels,” “no more Lysol or Cascade,”...and my personal favorite: “no more thongs.” (I am not totally sure what wearing uncomfortable underwear has to do with football, but I look forward to finding out.) The remainder of the presentation was a series of slides entitled, “Blocking Rules: The Dos and Donts.” However, that was just a collection of perverse and overtly explicit phrases that were twisted into coaching tips. Coach Sumlin issued an apology for the actions of his staff and for his lack of oversight in the whole matter.
By the way, if the name Jim Turner sounds familiar to you it’s because he was involved in the 2013 Miami Dolphin “Bully Gate.” Turner apparently has a history of making “jokes” that only he finds humorous. That’s right, Coach Sumlin hired a man who had been accused of sexual harassment at his previous place of employment. THEN, he put said man in charge of a creating a presentation that represented the entire football program AND didn’t think he needed to review it for any “jokes” before it was released. THEN, after coaches Turner and Banks performed their disturbing presentation, he just gave them a little slap on the wrist: a two-week suspension without pay. Today, incompetence is spelled S-U-M-L-I-N.
I’m sorry, Coach Sumlin, but an apology and a flimsy two-week suspension is not enough. Actually, I am not sorry at all. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, women deserve to be a part of the football conversation, and as more than just recruit eye-candy...Looking at you, Tennessee. The purpose of a ladies clinic is to allow female fans to become more comfortable with the sport through learning about their football program. The women who attended this “chalk talk” session genuinely wanted to learn about football and hoped to be treated, if not as equals, at least with respect. Then, these two coaches got up and treated them like sexual objects. The message I saw when I read that presentation was: “we believe the only way women can understand football is in the context of how she is viewed sexually by a man.” These two coaches took a platform that was meant to empower women, and used it to belittle them with demeaning and derogatory language. Side note: this particular clinic was being held to raise money for a local women’s shelter....Let’s all take a moment to bask in the irony.
should be IS unacceptable behavior. These two men need to be fired. During his apology Sumlin stated, “There is absolutely no place in our program or in our University community for inappropriate conduct or degrading comments towards women, or anyone, regardless of intent.” Yet, he is allowing the perpetuators of said degrading behavior to stay on his coaching staff as mentors and teachers of the young men that play on the team. So, apparently Coach, there is a place in your program for inappropriate conduct...and it happens to be in leadership positions. Texas A&M President, Michael K. Young has stated that the disciplinary process is not complete. I hope this is a true statement. I am tired of just “lip-service” being paid toward women in these situations, and I am ready to see some action. If you want to preach respect, honor, and integrity, you better have the discipline to act with those same qualities.
Now, with all this being said, I am especially proud to be a part of Gamecock nation. Our football offices recently hosted a ladies clinic, and it was a wonderful, and tasteful, event. Also, if you would like to learn about football without being objectified, feel free to read my Femme Football Series! Click here for Part 1. Click here for Part 2!