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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sayreville High School football hazing.........

I heard about this story yesterday on the Today Show, then I read a Sports Illustrated article about this case and I'm just torn. Allegations against members of the Sayreville High School football team have caused the investigators and the school superintendent to cancel the remainder of their season. 5 games will go unplayed. No senior night. No Homecoming game.



The allegations aren't just about big guys sticking little guys in a locker or giving them atomic wedgies. The allegations are 'lewd'. I had to read this next sentence twice before I physically winced.

"Investigators are looking into whether upperclassmen on the Sayreville football team digitally penetrated underclassmen on the team."

Today, digitally means electronically. But before the iPhones, video games and Google, digital mean 'finger'. Gross. If the allegations are true, this is horrific.

Here's a quote from a female freshman: "Things have been blown out of proportion. We know the players, and hazing, to them, they didn't mean it in that way. It was more like being friends."

Sorry, female freshman who isn't on the football team, but I've got LOTS of friends, and not a single one of them has ever 'digitally penetrated' me. No, this is just wrong on so many levels.

BUT.....

As a band parent, this also leaves me torn. 5 games remaining in the season. Just like our football team. Our team has a better record than they've had in years, which naturally draws a bigger crowd to Friday night football games. Our concession stand is our main source of funding for a band of 172 kids. If our last few games were cancelled, we'd lose a tremendous amount of revenue for the band.

Why are they not just punishing those responsible for this awful issue? I understand that the investigation is ongoing, but in the meantime, everyone suffers.

What are YOUR thoughts on this subject? Are they being fair by cancelling the season because of the actions of a few? Or is it an appropriate action because they don't yet have all the facts? I would love to hear what you think. Because I'm still torn.




11 comments:

  1. I am torn too. I think those involved as alleged perpetrators need to be removed. What about the seniors seeking scholarships for college? Football players, cheerleaders, band members.

    I think there is no correct answer other than ensuring those hazed are cared for and protected. There can be no winners in this situation.

    And a side note - the girl who thought they were just being friends needs to be educated on what friends and digitally penetrated means.

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    1. I agree 100% with all points, Joy. There are definitely no winners in this story.

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  2. --“I don’t want to talk about it,” the former Bomber said. “Nobody wants to talk about it. I’m sorry. We all are waiting for it to go away.”
    Wow. From the mouthes of babes. Too long folks have just waited for bad topics to "go away" - guess what, it doesn't. So sad. I don't know that there is a right answer, but appreciate your take on it, I'd never thought of the band losing funds from concession sales without your post. Thanks for posting.

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    1. Jolie I thought the EXACT SAME THING when I read that quote. Just wait for it all to go away. Don't do anything about it. Such a sad statement, and such a sad situation. As a parent of 2 band kids, this really hit home for me, because we try so hard every year to raise funds for this amazing band, and if, God forbid, something happened to end our season early, we'd suffer a tremendous financial loss. I hate to make it sound like it's all about money, because it isn't, but I have to look at it from all sides of the story, not just about the actions of the players. Those actions have a ripple effect on everyone in the community.

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  3. You only printed half of the procedure. Then the finger was put in the mouth of the younger student. People need to publicize this type of behavior. It seems that no one polices the authorities any more. The Superintendent in that little town needs to be commended for standing up to these "students" and the "people" who "raised" them.

    The Florida University had a student die as a result of hazing. Bulling and domination is not appropriate.

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    1. You are correct, I didn't print the whole story because I did not know the whole story. In researching a little further, I found THIS story from NJ.com and am even more horrified than I was this morning. I just don't know what to say. These kids, most of them seniors, if the story is true, should most definitely be punished.

      http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2014/10/sayreville_high_school_football_hazing_parent_reveals_sexual_nature_of_locker_room_ritual_exclusive.html#incart_river

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  4. Have to say I agree w/ anonymous. I only heard about the story this morning, but was horrified (I didn't even hear the whole thing), and I commend the Superintendent for taking a stand, having principles & trying to do the right thing under what I imagine is immense pressure. This is the kind of shit that goes on all.The.Time. Like when a star football player rapes a classmate and the town takes the football player's side because that kind of accusation might tarnish his bright career or the team's reputation. It's sickening & it won't stop until there are real repercussions (not a slap on the wrist like being banned from 2 games after beating your fiance UNCONSCIOUS on TAPE). It's a culture that treats these people - kids in this case - like heros & think they have a right to do whatever they want. They are not heros. They aren't even decent human beings. These are serious allegations. Kids have been sodomized, and people are crying about missing football games?

    I have to say I did not consider how it would affect other related things like the band but still this isn't a minor matter. It's despicable. And if some people have to suffer so justice can be had, I say so be it.

    End rant.

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    1. You are totally correct, Stacey. Definitely not a small matter at all and has really caused hurt and heartache for so many people involved.

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  5. It IS horrifying. What the hell is wrong with people? And it sucks that everyone is punished for the behavior of a few, but I will be the first to admit that I haven't read the whole story.

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    1. ...not that reading the whole story will make it any less horrifying. I think, in fact, I'll be more horrified after reading it. Ugh...

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  6. I have been following this story pretty closely because our small town in Pennsylvania had an incident of bullying/harassment earlier this season. My husband and I met with the Superintendent because we have not been told much about the specifics; and apparently that is because there is still some ongoing investigation. Our town has apparently forgotten about it. No criminal charges were filed. The behavior, while not on the magnitude of Sayreville, WAS sexual in nature in my opinion. And if it had been done to a girl, we'd have a completely different story.

    I should also add that I live about 60 minutes from Penn State University. I'm sure you've heard about the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. It is physically sickening to hear the comments from so many people who put football above all else, especially the victims. I have heard from some who endured "initiation rituals" 20 years ago who are STILL affected by it. And that was nowhere near what the Sayreville victims have suffered. Yes, the NCAA handed down sanctions to Penn State. But honestly, it hasn't changed the pervasive culture of football being supreme.

    What I had not considered (surprisingly, since I'm on the board of our Music Parents Association, and our concessions are also the major financial contributor to our program) was the trickle down effect beyond just the team and community.

    I do think much like the "freshman female" you quoted, our kids are living in a morally different culture than what we were 20 years ago. Bullying has taken on a very different, and often times more violent tone. Much like alcoholism was 40 years ago, we want to keep anything that is sexual in nature "hush-hush". Now, we applaud alcoholics for getting treatment. But we don't want to discuss any kind of sexual-deviant behavior or how to get treatment for that! And can we consider that the perpetrators may very well have been victims themselves at some point? Most usually are. They likely need help too.

    As "unfair" as it seems to punish everyone for the crimes of seven, that might be what it takes to change the culture. Though I don't know if it is true, I have heard that there were other kids who knew what was going on and said nothing. It will take an entire community to educate and change the culture of what is happening in Sayreville. And please know that you are not alone. While you have been thrust out into a national spotlight, this is happening in other places. We need to come together and teach our children and young adults that this behavior is not normal, it's not what "friends" do and it is destructive. I have been and will continue to pray for your community as you (hopefully) lead many others in how to handle this tragic situation.


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