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The Boston University Hockey Team's Alleged Culture Of "Sexual Entitlement"

Posted by Don Melrose on 9/10/2012 6:31:27 PM

The Boston University men's hockey team has some soul searching to do. The complicated reality of gender politics is something this powerful hockey program must confront.

A Celebration That Went Out Of Control: A School Is Thrust Into A Full-Blown Crisis

When people in the sports realm celebrate a win, they – like anyone else – must celebrate responsibly and with a realization that life goes on after a party. Celebrations should be joyful and lively, but they can't trample on basic values, common sense, and fundamental human decency. A championship celebration by Boston University's men's hockey team clearly seems to have crossed a line, one that could carry more consequences before all is said and done.

The high-stakes poker games that are being played on the Boston University campus are legal ones, not actual poker contests of chance. A lot of litigation is swamping the school after its 2009 national hockey championship bash went horribly wrong.

Two players involved in the party were charged with assault last year, according to a report in the Boston Globe. That's not the end of the fallout, however. More accounts of the party paint a deeper, more pervasive, and disturbing picture. One attendee of the party is quoted as saying, "People were having sex in the penalty box." Players on the team, according to one observer, had "the perception that they need not seek consent for sexual contact." The task force that investigated the incident was told by one BU player that "You don't ask (permission for sex) when you are drunk."

The damning details just keep on coming. A female student said that a player tried to force his hands down her pants even as she tried to fend him off and shove him away. She chose to not tell the police because she was resigned to the level of behavior she expected from Boston University hockey players. "That's just what (they) do," the woman said. Such a remark paints a particularly depressing picture about the larger subculture enfolding the hockey program, one that coach Jack Parker – the leader of the program for 40 years – has clearly failed to monitor with the vigilance and consistency one should expect from a person with his credentials and accomplishments.
As a final graphic note in this stomach-turning and manifestly ugly story, a Facebook posting from the party referred to successful sexual conquests as "kills."

Anyone, not just sports bettors or people interested in football betting at this time of year, should be outraged by this set of revelations. At a time when the culture of athletics far too often enables various misdeeds, injustices and crimes to be covered up or swept under the rug, it is important for athletes and coaches to know that they can't insult, degrade or injure other people with impunity. Consequences need to be injected into this situation in Boston. The honor and dignity of women won't be respected unless or until the modus operandi of BU's hockey program is completely overhauled, not merely tweaked at the margins.

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