Four Years A Slave.

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(ThyBlackMan.comRecently, the Baylor University football team has had some bad press regarding the alleged sexual exploits and crimes of some of their star players. Well now, there is more talk of these sexual crimes that is being reported in the news. A former female student who calls herself Elizabeth Doe in court documents, is stating that in April of 2013, she was raped by two players of the football team while at the home of a third star player. Interestingly enough, the star player is currently facing rape charges in an unrelated case. Mark J. Rebilas (USA TODAY Sports via goes on to report that the two players took Doe to the star player’s home while she was heavily intoxicated and was in no state to consent to sex. She filed a report of the crime the same day that it happened but no charges were filed. It is alleged that there have been at least 52 rapes (including gang rapes) by at least 31 players.

As reported by the Dallas News, Elizabeth Doe also states that an assistant coach asked a high school player if he liked white girls, because if so, there were plenty of white girls at Baylor University, and they love football players. As some brace themselves for other young women to speak out, I am not quite convinced that there is enough of a safe space or secure environment that has been created in order to provide the security needed by a young woman who is brave enough to take on such a large money-generating machine as the Baylor University football team.

While the idea of rape and the culture of blaming the victims is horrible enough, as a Black woman, I was also saddened of the promise of sex and access to white women to young Black men, as a tool to lure these athletes to the University. As I see it, this is a recognition by white men (if in fact the assistant coach is white) that there is a culture of our Black men, starting at a young age, lusting after white women and being willing to build (or destroy) their lives and careers around them. If the assistant coach is a Black man, then it is a pitiful testament to how some Black men play up to that stereotype of the pride-less, over-sexed buck who finds some type of promise or win in the very idea of being with a white woman.

I mean let’s be honest here, these coaches’ interest in our young Black athletes is not that of trying to ensure that these young men walk away with as much knowledge, growth, and opportunity as possible. The interest is strictly in which specimen runs the fastest, jumps the highest, and does the most to put more money in the pockets of the university and the football program. It is akin to being a slave for the four years that these young men are in the program. It also is an example of what many of us have known for a long time, but may not admit: that these coaches are willing to sacrifice a few white women in order to get their hands on some potentially very lucrative property.

Although I understand that I run the risk of being labeled all the ugly things that Black women are called when we bring light to issues that concern Black men and white women, I think that there are some important subjects that need attention. The first of those subjects, of course, is rape. We live in a culture that worships athletes, and those at the college level appear to be no different. It is awful that as women we are often unsafe in so many different types of environments. It is equally troublesome that when we speak out, we may be treated like the criminals. Yes, I recognize that some women cry wolf, and it is my personal belief that they should be punished; however, when proven that the woman is truthful, nothing, including someone’s football career, should protect him from facing justice.

The second of these subjects, is the exploitation of our young Black men. While some (mostly men) would argue that there is no harm in coaches offering these men sexual access to their young white women, we should look at the bigger picture. These young men are being insulted, exploited, and oftentimes thrown away when things don’t work out according to plan. Perhaps we should stand up and at least look past what is best for the football program and focus on what is best for our young Black men. Perhaps it is best if we can teach these young men to value things other than football, being “gifted” their very own white woman, and the temporary status that comes with being Four Years A Slave.

Staff Writer; Erica Van Jackson

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