Friday, January 2, 2015

Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich applauded for disciplining players who taunted Jameis Winston

We applaud Oregon coach Mark Helfrich, who said that players on his team who taunted Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will be disciplined.

Winston was accused of sexually assaulting a former female student in 2013 but was never arrested or charged and was cleared of any wrongdoing in a student code of conduct hearing.

In the moments after Oregon trounced Florida State 59-20 in the College Football Playoff national semifinal, a few Oregon players thought it would be funny to do the tomahawk chant with the phrase, “No means no” during the postgame celebration.

Helfrich released a statement to the Associated Press saying, “We are aware of the inappropriate behavior in the postgame. This is not what our programs stand for, and the student-athletes will be disciplined internally.”

Because of the sexual assault accusation, Winston has been the whipping boy of the media (you may recall Heather Cox of ESPN's disgraceful "gotcha!" momentClay Travis's disgraceful rush to judgment; and Geraldo's cherry-picking facts).

The stigma of a rape accusation is often never erased, no matter the identity of the accused or the circumstances of the accusation. A university should not tolerate disrespect for an opposing player or for due process, and the coach's decision to discipline the players is the right call.