The Monmouth University Men’s Basketball team lost to first place Siena last Friday night, but some Monmouth U. students made the loss that much more damaging to the school’s reputation. During the final home game of the season at the OceanFirst Bank Center, students in the Monmouth University section chose to hold up a a sign with homophobic messaging directed at one of the Siena players. The signs emerged from the Monmouth student section, with numerous photos of this bigotry making their way to social media almost immediately. Reports are indicating that some attendees in the student section were showing copies of one of the Siena player’s profiles on the dating application Tinder, as the second half was preparing to start. At the back of the group, someone is seen clearly in the pictures holding up a large whiteboard over his head with the message “Stick to GRINDR.’
Patrick Leahy, the president of New Jersey’s Monmouth University, made an official statement, saying the school is working “swiftly to gather additional details” and called the behavior “highly offensive”. His statement ended with the pointed statement: Discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated on this campus”.
A message to the Monmouth University community yesterday. pic.twitter.com/gqntsrffUl
— Patrick F. Leahy (@PatrickFLeahy) March 8, 2020
Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident when it comes to the harassment of LGBT players at organized collegiate sports. NBC News reports that in late February, Alyssa Wruble, the only girl on the Northampton Area High School varsity ice hockey team in Pennsylvania, was playing in a championship playoff game when fans of the opposing team taunted her with chants referring to her as a “dude” and a handmade sign prompting her to “reveal” her gender.
Monmouth University Class Of 2012 graduate Brian Sandy exclusively shares with me these thoughts: “I was both deeply disturbed and disappointed that this type of behavior went on. Considering college should be a safe place for all individuals and promotes a learning environment for both academics and self growth, it was horrible to see those actions. What was more disappointing was that the opposing team was a guest on campus and that was their welcome. The Monmouth I know, where Hawks fly together, should be ashamed to have those bullying students in campus. The students involved should be strongly disciplined and made example that in this day in age, any type of discrimination at a public or private event is intolerable”.