Target: Mark Helfrich, University of Oregon Football Coach
Goal: Don’t take disciplinary action against football players who chanted “no means no” after a game
Football players from the University of Oregon celebrated their win over Florida State University by chanting ‘no means no,’ most likely with the intention of mocking Jameis Winston, Florida’s quarterback, who was accused of sexual assault. It is not often that football players take a stand against rape or sexual violence, and they definitely should not be punished for that. Please tell Oregon’s coach to avoid taking disciplinary action against these players.
The issue of sexual violence in colleges and universities has been gaining a lot of attention recently, with many survivors claiming that their assailants have not been punished. Florida State University decided in December 2014 to clear Winston of any student code of conduct violations related to the sexual assault allegations. This has been happening in schools all over the US, and often sexual violence has strong ties to varsity sport, and so sexual violence complaints against athletes are often swept under the rug.
Although this chant didn’t necessarily come to express a critique of sexual violence in universities and the way it is handled, and was probably just meant to mock the opposing team, it can still have a positive impact. Sexual violence should be something perpetrators are ashamed of, and maybe actions like this could open up a discussion about rape culture, sports, and higher education. Please let Oregon’s coach know that punishing the players for calling out an alleged rapist is not right, and that the focus should be on stopping sexual violence, not the discourse around it.
Dear Mr. Helfrich,
I am writing to you about the recent event where some of the players on your team chanted ‘no means no’ to mock Jameis Winston, Florida State’s quarterback who was accused of sexual assault. Usually football teams and universities are not famous for their actions against sexual violence, and so I think that this behavior was a positive change, showing that football players can take a stand against sexual violence. Please avoid taking disciplinary action against these players, and instead promote an open discussion about sexual violence, higher education, and sports.
If your players are going to heckle the other team, they might as well do it while sending a positive message. Condemning sexual violence is something that everyone in football should be doing, but that doesn’t seem to happen too often, so your players’ chant should be seen as a positive first step.
Please don’t punish these players for calling out someone for sexual violence, and support punishing sexual predators, not those who call them out.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Adam850 via Wikimedia Commons