Adam Weinstein, a writer for Gawker and other sites, writes a chilling account of his days as a writing instructor at Florida State University and the culture of entitlement around the football program. Most disturbing is the gay instructor whose student -- who plays in the defensive secondary on the team -- wrote a personal essay for class where he bragged about organizing the gay bashing of a student while in high school.
The paper was "a very graphic, very detailed, very proud telling of how he basically got his high school classmates together to beat the shit out of this 'fag'"-a word used often in the work-"and literally kick him in the teeth to teach him a lesson." They were sick of their mark "acting like a girl," [the instructor] Robert recalls, and so they went about punching him in the face, emptying his gumline. The tone of the player's essay was that "he was very proud of himself. He had taken the initiative to organize this beating."
Robert panicked. The essay's victim "talked sexually, had tight clothes, and had feminine features-some of which could be certainly be said of me," he says. "Why would he give that to me? I took it in the moment as a personal threat."
When the player returned, Robert faked getting an important text and begged out of the conference, then ran down to a mentor's office to report the paper. The situation was handled well, he said: He never had to see that student again. Still, he had no clue as to the player's motives-or his rehabilitation. "Who knows if he learned anything?" Robert says. "It would be nice if a coach or someone from the Athletic Academic Advising Program said something to him."
The player is not identified, nor is the instructor, but Weinstein writes that he is still a member of the team. Based on details, the essay seems to have been written while the player was a freshman (he would now be a senior if the timeline is accurate). The anecdote goes on to describe another instructor, Derek, who inherited this player and knew about the homophobic essay, but never brought it up to anyone.
"I know he didn't think that shit was wrong," Derek said, with compassion. Halfway through the semester, the young instructor had questions-for his supervisor, for the coaches. "Did they even tell this kid that what he did was wrong? And if they did, what did they tell him was the wrong part: beating a gay kid near to death, or thinking it was OK to beat a gay kid, or thinking it was OK to write one of us an essay about beating a gay kid?" But Derek never asked them aloud.
Wow. A culture of silence and no one acting to deal with a person who brags about beating up someone. There's a lot more to Weinstein's article and even if half of it is true, it will confirm your worst thoughts about big-time college football.