Football Under Fire: College Football Rocked by Ableism and Homophobia Scandals

ATTITUDES IN College football have been thrust into the spotlight, after the Langwith football president shouted ableist abuse at a College match – and the Constantine football president posted homophobic messages on social media,  York Vision can reveal.

The Langwith football president is being investigated by the College after he allegedly verbally abused  a referee with ableist slurs at a Langwith 1sts vs Alcuin 2nds football match.

An Alcuin player at the match, who does not wish to be named, told Vision: “I can’t really say what triggered it, it must have been pretty innocuous otherwise I’d remember. But the Langwith football president clearly felt they should have got a decision, because he decided to shout ‘are you f****ing autistic ref?’”

The Alcuin student, who is also on the spectrum, blasted the conduct, adding: “I was stunned at first, it was shocking. It could have been really damaging if there was someone there who has bad social anxiety”.

The Langwith football head, who is also an exec member of Langwith College’s JCRC, is said to have stayed on the pitchside for the next match between James and Langwith teams, and abused James players with similar insults.

Bigoted Slurs: An own goal for college sportspeople?

One James College player has told Vision that they were called “autistic” and a “c**t” by the Langwith prez, who was watching the game, while another James player has said they witnessed him “shouting fat comments at James 4ths players”. Both of the players wish to remain anonymous.

YUSU Disabled Students’ Officer, Aisling Musson has criticised the conduct saying: “Ableism has absolutely no place in sport, and it’s sad that there’s still so much ignorance towards people with autism.

“I hope the individuals involved will learn from these incidents and make amends for their behaviour, and that those in sports leadership positions at York will try and fight bigotry in all its forms and make sport welcoming for everyone.”

The individual has apologised for their actions, and has said that they “deeply regret the language they used”.

When asked for comment, they told Vision: “I would like to formally apologise to anyone that I offended for the comments I made on said day. I deeply regret the language I used and hope that my idiocy can be forgiven. There is also a wider problem in college sport when it comes to foul language used by supporters and players, that I have been guilty of, that I now see we must start to address.”

Logo of Constantine College

In a separate incident, the Constantine College Football president has been blasted by the YUSU LGBTQ officer after posting homophobic messages on social media, including in a closed Facebook group for College football captains.

In one of these messages, posted on a sports group for College football heads, the individual – who is a former campaigns officer for the Constantine College JCRC – calls another student a “f*ggy little sh**”. York Sport President, Isaac Beevor, replied to the message saying: “Please do not use the language ‘f*ggy little sh**. It is inappropriate and offensive. Thanks”. The individual responded by saying: “I’ll pass on that advice, thanks.”

A complaint has been formally lodged with the University about the incident, Vision understands. If referred to the Police, the vile language could potentially be dealt with under hate crime legislation.

Vision can also reveal other shocking homophobic messages posted on the individual’s  social media accounts including:-

A Twitter status saying: “There must be something to being gay, they’re getting us to change our profile pictures to celebrate the fact they blow each other”.

A vile follow-up tweet, posted a year ago but still available to see on the user’s Twitter account, which says: “They even have parades to celebrate how happy they are about being f***ed in the ass, and whatever it that lesbians get up to”.

Another shocking post, again still public on their social media, in which they call an unknown individual a “mentally ill tr***y”. The tweet was published after the individual became Constantine College football president.

YUSU LGBTQ Officer, Henry Fairnington, slammed the revolting slurs, telling Vision: “Given the attitude that still surrounds sports as a whole,  university teams should be a chance for everyone to enjoy the sport, whether competitive or not.  To know that an already inaccessible area of life is cut off even at university, which is home to many people, is truly disappointing.

Many LGBTQ people avoid sports for these exact reasons, and to have the already low expectation of tolerance and acceptance ducked under is frustrating,  and should not be tolerated, particularly from the  president of a team.”

However, the Constantine football president is unrepentant, alleging that “the idea that there’s a problem with conduct in college football is laughable to anyone who takes part in it, and it’s been the most positive aspect of my university experience”.

They told Vision in a statement: “If people are looking for something to be upset about then they’ll always find something, but there’s no burden on anyone else to adjust their behaviour to please them, or take them seriously for that matter.”

They added: “At Constantine we use college football to help members develop key life skills such as organisation, teamwork and leadership, we give people an environment in which to form strong social bonds, and we foster positive mental traits such as confidence and self-assurance.”

Despite the Constantine president’s assertions that ‘the idea that there’s a problem with conduct in college football is laughable’,  other football presidents have vehemently condemned the actions of the two people concerned. James football head, James Scarr-Foster said: “When language is directed to individuals that is personally offensive, this crosses a line”.

Alcuin also condemned the conduct, with Alcuin’s football president, Sam Shield stating: “I would echo the James President’s comments; college sport and football is about being inclusive and everyone getting involved and having a laugh. If someone wants to play football for their college then they should definitely have a go.”

Derwent football’s Jonny Long  told Vision in a comment: “College football is a generally welcoming community, and while certain things can get said in the heat of the moment on the pitch by players, such disgusting and senseless abuse is not tolerated by our community.

“Derwent College AFC are a boisterous bunch but there is a line, which is set by those in charge. To have two presidents set such a poor example is not only to the detriment of their clubs but to our entire community, which we work hard to make as accessible and as fun to be a part of as it is.

“[The Constantine prez] was obviously not getting enough attention on his provocative Facebook posts so decided to try and get a rise out of the people on the college football group. Unsurprisingly, no one paid him much attention”.

Isaac Beevor, York Sport President told Vision: “I condemn the conduct, those that turn up to play College Sport and sport in general should do so with no fear of abuse. College Sport and sport in general should be an inclusive environment for everyone to get involved”

He added: “However, I don’t believe this is a wider problem. This isn’t representative of the majority of students and therefore College sport. The fact that these incidents have been condemned and reported by those within College Sport speaks volumes”.  Beevor also led called for the problem to be taken seriously, telling Vision: “Otherwise we do a disservice to those students who are brave enough to call it out”.

The news comes despite a series of efforts to make sport more inclusive in recent years, with York Sport Union’s  ‘Equal Opportunities’ scheme running a series of sessions for sports clubs alongside liberation networks. The scheme aims to “make sports clubs inclusive and accessible to all”.

One thought on “Football Under Fire: College Football Rocked by Ableism and Homophobia Scandals

  1. Good article, definitely more should be done to prevent the experiences of LGBTQ folk from being lessened, or worse, ignored.

    As such I was shocked to see such a blatant example of Lesbian erasure. The sentence ‘Many LGBTQ people avoid sports for these exact reasons’ from no less than the YUSU LGBTQ President shows that even in our own community much needs to be done. Perhaps the President is not aware women exist, seeing as unlike most men he has no use for them?

    I suppose remaining unseen may be preferable to being seen as an object. I commend him for taking another leap towards equality of the sexes.

    Such phallocentric views that ignore the facts (that Lesbian womyn are overrepresented in the university sports teams) show there is still much room for more understanding and acceptance even from the champions of our cause.

    Down with phallocentrism, down with sexism, and above all, down with the patriarchy.

    Thank you.

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