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LGBT athletes hit back at columnist who says athletes don’t belong at Yale

“Clearly, you don’t have to be smart to be good at most sports.”

Mason Darrow won the Ivy League championship playing center for the Princeton football team.
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At least one Yale student thinks athletes are a bunch of dumb jocks and sports are a pointless endeavor with no real benefit to a college as reputable as Yale.

Sure, some guy name Cole Aronson argues, sports might be fine for idiot schools, but at Yale sports participation shouldn’t be a factor in admission because sports and athletes bring nothing to the table.

“A star center is not a better candidate for admission to college because he is a star center. But math, poetry and chemistry? Those are intellectual activities. Prowess in them does require a good mind.”

Aronson demonstrates his complete lack of understanding by singling out the position in football — the center — that requires the highest level of intelligence. And if Aronson was talking about centers in basketball or hockey, he wasn’t smart enough to make that distinction.

Aronson also offers cross-state TV network ESPN as evidence of the stupidity of athletes.

“Just listen to what passes for English on ESPN,” he wrote as proof-positive that athletes are stupid.

Aronson must have never heard of a guy named Nelson Mandela. I’d explain who Mandela is, but everyone else in the world already knows.

This is what Mandela had to say about sport:

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”

Right? These are things most of us know.

But this kid at Yale doesn’t like sports, so he has no real understanding of what Nelson Mandela — yes, THE Nelson Mandela — was talking about.

Luckily, a few LGBT athletes know exactly what Mandela said.

Mason Darrow played center (yes, the same center Aronson called an idiot) for the Princeton football team and found an issue just about every word of Aronson’s drivel.

“Aside from a complete lack of factual support to his claims,” Darrow told Outsports, “the most glaring issue with his piece is the notion that being intelligent and being athletic are mutually exclusive.

“He claims that Yale could be a great school if it never produced someone who ever watched a football game, but would cease to be a great school if it stopped producing doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. The fact of that matter is that many Ivy athletes go on to these careers, and excel in them.”

Another football player, Conner Mertens, who attends Willamette University and played football there as a kicker, finds incredible value in his athletic experience and in the athletes who contribute to the culture of Willamette.

“To suggest that students contribute less value to their respected intellectual communities is narrow-minded and disappointing,” Mertens said. “Sports are at the intersection of every single facet of life and demographic. Athletics are a vehicle for reflecting the core values of a university environment.”

Not to mention powerful vehicles for the important self-discovery so crucial to the college experience.

Ashley Dai, who played tennis for the rigorous Univ. of North Carolina,

“If athletes are so useless intellectually, then we wouldn't see them throughout countless different fields of work,” Dai pointed out. “Chances are that Mr. Aronson will one day work with, if not for, a former student-athlete, and then I hope that he realizes that the many hours spent studying our respective games while also studying for our next exams have allowed us to capitalize and utilize all aspects of our ‘intellect.’”

After reading Aronson’s piece you have to wonder how the heck this guy got into Yale. Even worse, who gave him a voice at the student newspaper? The editor in chief is David Shimer, so I guess that’s your answer.

The foolish nature of his argument don’t condemn the college or student-body of Yale, as most everyone else seems to get the importance of sports in building culture and cultivating minds.

It’s hard to understand why the Yale Daily News would keep him as a columnist. I understand intelligent flame-throwers driving traffic and debate. This guy, Aronson, isn’t even smart about it.

I’ll finally leave with the words of Jake Leffew, an openly gay athlete on the Yale golf team. Say what you want about sports and athletes, but they are integral pieces of our culture and, as Leffew said, an integral part of the mission of Yale College:

“Aronson’s piece argues that athletics is antithetical to Yale’s mission, and that admissions should stop considering athletics when admitting incoming students.

“Inconceivably, his article does not consider Yale’s official mission statement, which reads, “‘Yale is committed to improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice. Yale educates aspiring leaders worldwide who serve all sectors of society. We carry out this mission through the free exchange of ideas in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.’

“Indeed, varsity athletes are scholars and leaders, integral to Yale’s school spirit and diversity. Yale—the first university to offer intercollegiate athletics in 1843 with men’s crew—boasts intellectuals, diplomats, doctors, lawyers, humanitarians, journalists, and presidents as former varsity athletes.

“The golf team is central to my Yale experience, providing a group of lifelong friends with whom I’ve shared some of my proudest and weakest moments. It is clear from the article that Cole has not had these privileges—his loss. Anyone who gains admission to Yale deserves to be here, and any suggestion otherwise is, quite frankly, insane.”