The warnings are always there: be careful what you put on social media. In Hanna Strong’s case, she wasn’t very careful at all.
Syracuse University indefinitely suspended Strong from the women’s soccer team over the weekend after a video appeared online in which she used a homophobic and racial slur. Head coach Phil Wheddon laid down the suspension hammer on Strong, according to a statement from athletic director Daryl Gross. The AD specifically hit on the harm done to the university’s values:
“This type of intolerant and hurtful language, focused on both race and sexual orientation, is not part of the culture we seek to foster among our student-athletes and it has no place at Syracuse University.”
Last night, SU Chancellor Kent Syverud also addressed the incident, very similarly to Gross. As part of his e-mail to the Orange student body, he said:
“We do not tolerate hate speech, including hate speech directed at a person’s race or sexual orientation.”
With a pending investigation looming, this should open the eyes of all SU student-athletes. Football and basketball are the sports with the brightest spotlight, but these words from Strong adhere to the entire athletic community. Gross and Syverud both mentioned the word “toleration.” They are spot on.
Syracuse strongly incorporates diversity on campus, relating to both race and gender. Strong’s words just put a huge target on the backs of athletes.
Let’s relate this to football. Team Fizz can break down Terrel Hunt’s psyche and poor decision, but the Strong’s actions are even more disturbing. Hunt’s punch is stupid, but it’s an emotional reaction in a physical game. Strong screaming profanities and slurs on the street is an awful depiction of any student on campus.
Hunt’s screw-up only cost him and his team the second half and overtime of a game vs. an FCS opponent. Strong’s error has resulted in an indefinite suspension and potential removal from Syracuse entirely. Plus, it’s an event that has caused the entire school administration to respond.
This whole ordeal is unfortunate for the university. From an athlete’s standpoint, this is something you never want to be a part of. Syracuse athletes ought to use Strong’s mistake as a foreseeable warning. Strong can be heard on the video saying, “You wanna call me out for saying the n-word, I don’t give a s***. Don’t record me saying this, don’t record me saying this.” In an era of camera phones and social media, you often don’t get to decide what gets recorded and published. So athletes must be far better than Strong was, or the university is not afraid to react with disciplinary action.
Posted: Brendan Glasheen