Last night after work I drove over to our men’s team field to watch them play the visiting Welsh touring side, Bedlinog, and then attend the post-match social. I was looking forward to watching the games after joining in on Wednesday night’s adventurous socials downtown and hoped our guys would surprise the likely more-experienced Welsh men with a victory.
Not shortly after arriving, I spotted a local television news crew on the sidelines and thought, great, some positive local coverage of rugby in our city. Sadly, I was wrong.
It seems that later Wednesday night, a few of the Welsh boys and an unknown college girl went back to their hotel. Later the police were called and there were allegations of sexual assault. The police later chose not to make any arrests and the passports of the alleged suspects were returned with the knowledge that the police would clearly be able to track them down again even back home in Wales.
So, no one knows what really happened, but our local media coverage now has headlines like “Rape Probe Involves Visiting Rugby Club Members” and “Police
Investigate Sexual Assault Allegation Against Rugby Players”. Suffice it to say, the positive coverage of rugby is now negatively tarred with questions of rape.
Since there were no actual charges brought up or arrests made, it’s not really a story. But the damage is done and it saddens me as both a rugby player and a woman.
And there are so many questions and mixed emotions. Thoughts of Thank God it wasn’t someone I know, or one of our men’s players, or that it turned out much worse (Like the Duke Lacrosse rape scandal). And thoughts of why did this girl go alone with men she didn’t know to a hotel? And then well, why did we let one of our teammates go alone with one of the Welsh guys she was kissing? And re-thinking thoughts of dirty jokes told over beer and mixed company now giving me the creeps, when at the time, it was all in good fun. But also thoughts of how very nice the Welsh players I met were and how excited they were to be sharing our two cultures through rugby.
And additional thoughts of why couldn’t the media bother to cover a positive side to our sport?
After our guys rallied back to win the game and a nice dinner social, my guy and I watched the 10 p.m. newscasts last night and both were really bummed that it was Rugby and then Rape. But also thankful that it wasn’t something worse, that our sport and our teams had had a close call, but were just scratched, unscathed by a seemingly fatal situation.
Overall, I think this just serves as a reminder that as individuals and teammates, our thoughts and actions reflect more than just ourselves and ripple out in a thousand different ways.