Zirin at The Nation: “Steubenville and Challenging Rape Culture in Sports.”


The more miles we travel, the more it seems that what needs to be challenged is sports culture in general. It’s a tail that wags the dog. Dave Zirin shows again why he’s one of the few sports writers currently worth reading.

Steubenville and Challenging Rape Culture in Sports, by Dave Zirin (The Nation)

… Earlier this year, it was seeing Notre Dame players who had been implicated in two sexual assaults, take the field without uproar in their national championship game, led by a coach who thought the accusations were cause for humor. This week the trial opens in Steubenville, Ohio, where two members of the storied high school football team are facing youth prison until the age of 21 for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. The defense has described the young woman as “a drunk out-of-town football groupie.”

The fact is that rape culture—conversation, jokes and actions that normalize rape—are a part of sports. Far too many athletes feel far too empowered to see women as the spoils of jock culture. The young woman in Steubenville was carried like a piece of meat, with the brutality documented like it was spring break in Daytona Beach. It was so normalized that dozens of people saw what was happening and did nothing.