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Blaming the victim...'s foot?

The dangers of being contrarian, as illustrated by Gregg Easterbrook. Writing about the University of Colorado's football coach getting suspended in the wake of allegations that his former placekicker, Katie Hnida, was raped by a teammate, Easterbrook writes:

But, absurdly, these serious issues are not the ones that led to yesterday's suspension of the Colorado coach, Gary Barnett. He was suspended for saying that Hnida is a terrible player. Hnida is, in fact, a terrible player. In this respect, Barnett was only saying what everybody in college football has been politely avoiding.


But competing against men who are significantly larger and stronger, Hnida simply wasn't much of a player. It's ridiculous that stating this plain fact--not the alleged tolerance of sexual harassment--is what got the Colorado coach into trouble.

The "whoosh" you hear is the sound of Easterbrook missing the point. Of course she isn't a good player. But Barnett wasn't suspended for what he said about her talent. He was suspended for when he talked about her talent. What he actually said was:
It's a guy's sport. (Players) felt like Katie was forced on them. It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful. You know what guys do? They respect your ability. I mean, you could be 90 years old, but if you could go out and play, they would respect you. Well Katie was a girl, and not only was she a girl, she was terrible. OK? And there's no other way to say it,
If he wasn't insinuating that she got raped in part because she wasn't a very good player, then he's one of the most clueless public speakers I've ever heard of.

Oh, and of course there's also the allegation that he warned another rape victim that if she dared to file a police report against one of his players, he'd back the player 100%.

It was these statements, not an inaccurate scouting report, that got Barnett suspended; Easterbrook must have known that. But when you feel the need to say something different just for the sake of saying something different, you end up saying dumb things, sometimes. Easterbrook seems to fall into that trap all too frequently, now that he has a blog. (And thank you, no need to point out that I may be the pot calling the kettle black here. Unlike Easterbrook, I'm not a professional. I'm saying dumb things for fun, not profit.)


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Comments (1)

Patrick R. Sullivan:

While Easterbrook has written some very weird things lately (about the NBA and Enron employees deserving to lose their savings), he's probably right about this. I didn't witness the press conference, but someone who did said this statement is being used out of context.

Barnett was asked about why the woman left the team, words to the effect: "wasn't it because she was raped?". Implying Barnett was lying about not knowing she had been. That's when he started to explain that she left because she wasn't good enough.


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