POOR SPORTSMANSHIP: Football players at Guilford College, once named the hottest school for “social conscience,” hurled punches and slurs at Palestinian students.
Way to go, Newsweek. America’s leading health-fad-and-campaign-dreck news mag named Guilford College, a Quaker school in North Carolina, the “hottest for social conscience” in 2006. Right on cue, the school became the site of the first ever football-Islam hate crime, opening the door to a whole new world of unacceptable beer-fueled behavior for America’s athletes.
At least five, and possibly six, members of the football team were involved in an altercation with three Palestinian students last week. The athletes were accused of beating the Palestinian students with fists, feet, and brass knuckles, and of yelling a variety of epithets, including “terrorists,” at them. They were charged with assault, battery, and “ethnic intimidation,” North Carolina’s name for its state hate-crimes law. The FBI is said to be investigating whether federal civil-rights statutes were violated.
In the wake of the attack, students erected a “community scarecrow” in the middle of the campus quad — an effigy with mop hair and a cardboard-box face upon which students were invited to “write your definition of community.” As yet, the community scarecrow has not inspired any new attacks, but one would assume this remains a possibility.
This appears to be the first post–9/11 sports attack against Muslims. Not that there haven’t been some ugly, racially charged incidents in our past. One that flew relatively under the radar was a November 2004 incident in which a number of Oregon State University football players assaulted a white National Guardsman, apparently for being married to a black woman. There was also Duke-lacrosse-team rape suspect Collin Finnerty, who was arrested for punching a man, apparently for being gay. And in 2003, there was an incident in Rockdale, Texas, in which a young boy with gender-identity issues committed suicide; it is believed he was attacked and urinated on by members of his school’s football team just prior to his death.
Guilford College has a long history of reaching out to Muslim communities around the world, and has taken in many exchange students from the Middle East. As a result, protests from the Muslim community have been somewhat stifled. Within the student body, however, there have been boycotts and candlelight vigils.
The three Palestinian students suffered a variety of injuries: one had a broken nose; another, a broken jaw. All have been released from the hospital. Meanwhile, the father of one of the accused football players has released a photo purportedly showing a bruise on his son’s back in the shape of a belt-buckle, and claims that the incident was more two-sided than has been reported.
Either way, six football players fighting three Palestinians, late, in prime beer-consumption territory on a Saturday night, sounds like pretty bad math. A hate crime scores an automatic 80 on our sports-crime rating system, but I’ll drop it to 70 pending the release of more definite information.
Bowling for time
Another week, another onetime major college athlete arrested for stealing video games. Lionel Sullivan, a 6’6” freshman at Bowling Green who was dismissed from the hoop team in December, was busted last week for attempting to use another student’s ID to buy an Xbox 360 and a pair of video games from the campus store.
The incident came to light on January 9, when another student who had lost his ID went to buy books and found that he had almost no money left in his account. Instead, there were records of inexplicable purchases. Police quickly focused on Sullivan, whose room was searched, and uncovered the missing items. Oddly, when asked to bring the items to the campus police station, Sullivan refused, telling police to pick them up themselves.
There is already much in the sports-crime literature describing similar arrests. Last year we mentioned the plight of Wisconsin defensive back Jack Ikegwuonu, who was busted for breaking into an apartment in DeKalb, Wisconsin, to steal an Xbox. Plus, current Philadelphia Eagle and former Florida State CrimiNole Broderick Bunkley was clipped in college for allegedly stealing an Xbox from a Wal-Mart.
This is a minor crime, but I’m giving Sullivan a full 31 points because, well, adults who steal video games are lame. This is not exactly Jean Valjean we have here.
When he’s not googling “community scarecrow” and “lame video-game arrests,” Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone. He can be reached at
JOCK TEAM CRIME PTS
LaVon Chisley, Penn State: murder 99
6 Football Players, Guilford: hate crimes 70
Kat. Maekawa, Orix Buffaloes: DUI, hit/run 47
Lionel Sullivan, BGSU: stealing video games, being a dumbass 31
Dax Crum, ASU: DUI 30
Mike Tyson, n/a: Coke, DUI 28
Rashaun Broadus, BYU: hoops, DUI, having Snoop Dogg’s last name 26
Ryan Krause, Chargers: DUI 25
Dontrelle Willis, Marlins: DUI, peeing 23
Minny P.D., n/a: tasering 20
Mobile P.D., n/a: being dicks 5
Kyle McLarney, Notre Dame: weed possession 1