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Opinion: Alabama running back tweet unfairly sexist toward women

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Sophomore Alabama running back Kenyan Drake (17) avoids defenders during a game against Kentucky Oct. 12 at Commonwealth Stadium. Alabama won, 48-7. Courtesy of MCT

Sophomore Alabama running back Kenyan Drake (17) avoids defenders during a game against Kentucky Oct. 12 at Commonwealth Stadium. Alabama won, 48-7.
Courtesy of MCT

There are few things that bring us together as a country like football.

Small towns everywhere gather together under Friday night lights to bask in the glory of high school games. College towns huddle together through scorching heat and blistering cold for the love of the game. Even big cities jump on board to cheer on their own professional teams.

Quite simply, football is inescapable. Hell, other countries call it American football. It’s ours. We made it and we love it. We have parties based around it, and companies across the nation bid for their advertisements to be featured alongside the game.

So to imply that half of the population can’t follow football is insulting and downright sexist.

Yet, here we are. Bring in University of Alabama running back Kenyan Drake, who tweeted Jan. 20 from his personal account, @KDx17, “Most girls like basketball more than football (because) they can follow it alot (sic) easier.”

Sure, we can blow it off as another stupid thing an athlete sent out to the cyber world and another thing for which an athlete received a major repercussion (re: backup OSU quarterback Cardale Jones’ infamous tweet about how he didn’t come here to “play school” but rather to play football). But to me, it’s more than that.

The idea that women can’t “follow” football easily is a blatant exclusion of women from part of the American identity and it’s downright insulting. Football has always been a boy’s club, sure, but there would be a great deal fewer fans without women filling the stands.

But let’s play along with his stereotypes.

All those women who cook your meals before games and after practices (because that’s where women belong, right? In the kitchen?) don’t know what’s going on in the game. They’re just there to serve you.

Same with that woman who knows how to get grass, blood, mud and the smell of sweat out of your uniform. Football is too complicated for her to realize how all those stains got there, but thank God she can wash it for you.

And don’t forget the cheerleaders who follow you to every game, throwing themselves in the air to celebrate your achievements? Surely they have a man nearby telling them when to cheer because they’re too stupid to know what’s happening by themselves.

Most importantly, what about all the mothers out there? All the mothers who drive their sons to practices, adorn themselves with buttons with their son looking dashing in his uniform so they can properly cheer him on, pray for his safety in every single play and never miss a game — all those mothers are so blissfully ignorant of what their son is doing.

Of course, football has always been a male-dominated sport. It takes almost no common sense to figure that out. But to say girls can’t follow it is sexist, insulting and dated.

Sexism starts in the most basic jokes. Saying someone can’t follow something or that they follow a certain stereotype, even in a joking matter, makes sexist comments down the line seem less insulting and detracts from the reality of exclusion.

The worst part to me is that Drake later retweeted Iowa State redshirt-sophomore offensive lineman Duaron Williams (@UntamedBigDawg), who replied back “Or cuz they basic lol,” as a response to his first tweet. He isn’t sorry for what he did and he doesn’t realize his actions are insulting.

But football has and always will be a part of my life that I definitely can follow and no, I’m not “basic.”

5 comments

  1. I agree the comment is sexist. But this article doesn’t do much to defend women’s rights. All of the examples are from the perspective of the stereotypes the tweet promotes. It says nothing about the women that actually embrace football for what football is, nor does it give a critique about football from a feminist perspective. All in all, it sounds like this article was written in 1950.

  2. I would like to respond to this editorial as a female football fan. No strike that, a football aficionado, a die hard, even a guru. My morning ritual includes a dose of SportsCenter with my coffee. I know more about every level of football than my boyfriend and probably more than your boyfriend too. So this article would suggest that I should be offended by Kenyan Drake’s comment. I am, however, not in the least bit. Let’s be clear, girls who don’t follow football don’t because they don’t like football (not because it’s incomprehensible) and that’s fine! And this player’s tweet that suggests differently really doesn’t matter. What should matter, what The Lantern should be writing opinion pieces about is a football culture in which we glorify the individual players so much they become entitled and above the law. A real focus on women’s issues should be placed on a society that allows famed football stars to rape and assault our women without consequence… And then villainize the victim (reference Jameis Winston). So to put things back into perspective, what some “boys rule and girls drool” comment a backup running back made is arbitrary and petty. We don’t care. Lantern, I love ya but step up your game when it comes to sports editorials AND women’s issues.

  3. Why would you let that comment get under your skin? No self-respecting person actually believes what that football player said. Editorials are for original thoughts and ideas. You’re just preaching to the choir.

  4. Football in itself is sexist! Against women as well as against men! Men needing muscle and no brain to be considered men, ramming into each other and half naked women cheering just for the men to have something to look at (even if they do to difficult things and have talent, that is not why they are there, ask the fans and players themselves). This article is ridiculous, it does not help sexism by saying “yes! woman can understand it!”, they shouldn’t even be a part of it! Nor should men, honestly.

  5. This article actually really misses the mark. It only makes it worse for women to get involved even more and watch football. It’s not that they can’t understand it, most of them just don’t want to. Football players are some of the most uneducated people, there are clear statistics to show this. The people who boycott football are the smart ones.

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