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Student athletes need to be punished for scandalous social media posts

Submitted by Zachary Martin on February 26, 2014 – 10:41 amNo Comment

A racist social media post on Instagram sparked a wildfire of controversy at Drexel University on the first day of Black History Month this year. One senior soccer athlete, Jessica Sarkisian, posted a picture of herself and a fellow African-American student with a violently offensive caption.

The comments made by Sarkisian sailed far past a petty slip-up and crashed straight into a malicious, thought-out blow to the African-American population. After the post made its way around the web, Drexel Athletic Director Eric Zillmer offered an apology and a promise to address the matter with the student.

This post seemed to be purposeful and was even orchestrated by a fellow American. It would be atrocious to believe that it was done of ignorance and should be overlooked. Awful behavior such as this would never be tolerated in the professional world today. This young athlete is a face for the entire university, therefore, she should face repercussions for such actions. An argument for ignorance is highly invalid with such a potently racist comment. The experiences of high school and college are eye opening for everyone, and one would be hard pressed not to learn that racism is horrible and will never be tolerated in such a cultured environment.

Promises of addressing an issue as dire as this is a comforting statement, but falls short of fair judgment. In a professional setting, this would have led to immediate termination of status. I believe this to be the only just decision in this instance. A scholarship-holding athlete, who is admired as an upstanding student, cannot be allowed to trample all over the decency of a university without consequences being anything less than cutting all scholarships given to that student by the university. It has been instilled into me throughout my personal college career that one must be wary of social media and what you broadcast on it. Anyone can see it and be offended to the point of giving grievance to university heads.

This egregious attempt at humor is a sad and sick display of disrespect and disregard to common decency, brought about by a foolish and rude college athlete. Punishment must be swift and just, so that the event will not soil the university name any more than has already been done.

This delay only weakens the reputation of those with the power to do the right thing, in the correct manner. When it really comes down to it, we all know what she said was wrong and something needs to happen. With many African-American based organizations across the campus and the world, if college athletes like Sarkisian do not answer for what they say, the University will have far bigger problems than scandalous social media posts. Riots could potentially form and a lawsuit might ensue. Yet, if the correct decision is made on this, all could turn out less complicated.

We all agree that just because students are athletes, it doesn’t mean that they should be exempt from rules of the common people. Being “young and dumb” is thrown out of the window as an excuse when the event involves something as serious as a racist comment. Athletes across America have been persecuted for their unorthodox behavior throughout the years. College athletes are aspiring professional athletes and should be treated with the same scrutiny. This idea will promote respectful behavior and prudence in athletes. We as human beings share this world and it is a beautiful fact that many cultures exist in our midst. Therefore, we should all strive to uphold the equal treatment of these cultures so as to prevent any other heinous crimes such as this.

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