Scarlet Letter: Oct. 22
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Most Clarkies are not inclined to think about professional sports often. Many students here at Clark could go their entire semesters without thinking about sports once if it was not for the annoying kid screaming about how he or she came back from being down 50 points thanks to David Johnson and Lamar Miller in his or her fantasy game last week. However, students might be interested in the actions of one professional sports team owned by Clark alumnus Jeffrey Lurie (‘73): the Philadelphia Eagles.
This is not about what the Eagles are doing on the football field, the team is a mediocre 3-2 with an offensive line that is in shambles. What is of note, however, is that the team has acquired multiple players with a history of domestic or sexual assault.
This offseason Lurie’s team made a number of personnel acquisitions, including drafting cornerback Jalen Mills and trading for wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Mills was a fairly talented player at Louisiana State University, but was suspended in 2014 after being arrested for second degree battery on a woman at his apartment complex. According to the arrest warrant, he walked up to the victim from behind and punched her in the mouth. Mills entered a diversion program instead of going to trial in 2015.
Green-Beckham had a similar incident at the University of Missouri in 2014. The 6 foot 6 athlete reportedly pushed a woman down at least four stairs while looking for his girlfriend. The woman was initially going to press charges, but reconsidered after Green-Beckham’s girlfriend sent her 16 text messages pleading for her to not, including saying “football is all he really has going for him and pressing charges would ruin that completely.”
In addition to adding Mills and Green-Beckham to the team, Lurie’s Eagles also decided to keep wide receiver Nelson Agholor on the roster. This past June, Agholor was accused of sexual assault by a dancer at the Philadelphia strip club “Cheerleaders.” The case was reviewed by the Philadelphia District Attorney, who claimed he found insufficient evidence to bring charges. The District Attorney, Seth Williams, is currently being investigated for corruption, as he allegedly accepted over $160,000 in gifts. One such gift, listed as having no face value, was sideline passes to Eagles games for the past five years. Agholor has received no public punishment from the team.
Neither Mills, Green-Beckham, nor Agholor have been proven guilty of their actions. However, in a world in which we know that many domestic and sexual assault cases do not end with a guilty verdict, and considering each player’s way of avoiding a guilty charge was less than convincing, does that really matter?
Clearly, not all Clark alumnae will challenge convention and change our world in positive ways. The only reason I know and care about Lurie’s actions is that I have been a diehard fan of the Eagles since fourth grade. Lurie is not the only alum that is potentially failing to live up the values that Clark would hope to instill in its students: the other alumnus that owns a professional sports team, Marc Lasry (‘81), coerced the state of Wisconsin to pay $250 million for a new basketball stadium just last year. At a school with a student body dedicated to social justice, maybe it’s time to start reevaluating the names that adorn our buildings and meeting rooms, and making sure that those who represent our University both here and around the world are acting in the manner we would hope.