Vanderbilt, Alcorn State And The Media: Building A Culture Of Misogyny

Monday, September 16, 2013

When college athletes, usually football or basketball players, commit crimes, the stories are reported in starkly different terms than when anyone else commits a similar crime.  I’ve noticed, over the last few months, that the rape case at Vanderbilt is no exception.  Coverage of the case encourages a culture that devalues women.

When writers and commentators discuss the Vanderbilt rape case, they primarily are concerned about:  1) the impact this case will have on the Vanderbilt football program as a whole 2) whether Vanderbilt will have all its starters for the next game, including the starting quarterback who now appears to be in some way implicated, and 3) that the prosecutor is possibly being “over-zealous” in prosecuting those involved.

At what point did the gang rape of an unconscious young woman become about football?  Why is no one, at Vanderbilt University or elsewhere, discussing how to change a culture in which a horrific gang rape is covered up so that the football season isn’t ruined?  Why are we talking about football at all?  The fact that these monsters play football is completely irrelevant.  They have been indicted on felony charges, which means that a grand jury determined that they probably committed the crime, and should no longer be college students, and by extension college athletes, at any school. 

Chris Boyd, the player who pleaded guilty to a crime in connection with covering up the rape, has been “suspended” from the football team.  His football eligibility is irrelevant; he should be expelled from the university.  Does Vanderbilt have no code of conduct for students?  One would hope that Vanderbilt, which proudly touts its purported "academics over athletics" philosophy, would do better.  Yet the school has managed to stall, not release information, and try to hush things up at every opportunity. 

Even more shocking, Jaborian McKenzie, one of the accused Vanderbilt rapists, immediately became a starter at Alcorn State University after being dismissed from Vanderbilt him, while on bond for aggravated rape.   Alcorn State said that it didn’t “sufficiently examine” the charges against him before allowing him to play.  Apparently, Alcorn State's first reaction to a woman being violently gang-raped in a Vanderbilt dorm was "how can we capitalize on this to win some football games?"

Heather DeGaetano


My Brother’s Keeper Program May Have Lofty Goal, But Makes Faux Pas

A federal president known for misuse of the Christian scriptures has done it again, but this time with Chattanooga city government following him into a program whose name falls from the lips of humankind’s first murderer.  The query “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is from a slab of dialogue in which Cain is defiant to his creator, who is asking the whereabouts of his missing ... (click for more)

Passing On The History Of Atrocities To Eliminate Them

I have seen and read a lot about the world in my 68 years. Out of curiosity, yesterday, I read an obituary of a local person who had served in WWII, and participated in the freeing of prisoners at a German concentration camp that I had never heard of before. My curiosity was peeked to find out how many concentration camps the Germans operated during the War, so I googled and found ... (click for more)

2 Suspects Sought In Armed Robbery At Highway 153 Long John Silver's

Police are searching for two suspects in an armed robbery that happened Friday morning. At approximately  8:10  a.m. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 5317 Highway 153 for a robbery at the Long John Silver's.  Officers discovered that two black men, wearing hoodies and masks, entered the Long John Silver's and forced the assistant manager ... (click for more)

Pair Charged With Beating Man With Stick, Taking His Wallet

Two men are charged with beating a man with a large stick while he slept on the steps of a downtown church, then taking his wallet. Jerry Quincy Allen, 45, and James Leo Boas, 40, both of 727 E. 11th St., are charged with aggravated robbery. In the incident on Wednesday, Bradley Casehart said he and a friend were asleep at Tompkin Chapel Church on Palmetto Street. He ... (click for more)

McCallie Claims Own Mat Title with Depth

  With no champions, yet good depth, host McCallie won the 34 th annual McCallie Wrestling Invitational Tournament Saturday with 223 points followed by runner-up Union Grove (196) and third place Cleveland (186.5) in the 27-team field. In winning a record eighth team title, McCallie had runners-up in James Westbrooks (126) and Brock Herring (132), plus three thirds and ... (click for more)

Hawks Defeat Riverdale, 55-43, For Rhea Title

EVENSVILLE, Tenn. – Hamilton Heights had a chance to win the boys and girls title in the Rhea County Holiday Hoops tournament Saturday night. The Hawks delivered. The Lady Hawks came up short. Once-beaten Hamilton Heights, getting pivotal back-to-back 3-pointers by Silas Adheke and Joan Duran in the final two minutes and sterling efforts by Ezekiel Balogun and Abdulhakim ... (click for more)