Coach New Refutes Arguments Against Muska Article

To the Editor:

To the offended first-year and all other ignorant ones who share her thoughts: If you can just once think outside the box and really listen, i.e. read, what you are obviously just looking at in the paper, then maybe you could offer some informed responses that would generate dialogue that would be beneficial to the situation at hand. Instead, you fall victim to viewing Oberlin and our culture through the eyes of greater society, or in your case, your high school. Do you think that if you had come out here at Oberlin that you would have been ostracized and received death threats? Of course not! You would have been accepted and encouraged to follow your heart like most everyone else here at Oberlin. You would have found a supportive community willing to help you deal with the problems and issues you were likely to face. Now take your situation and try to see the correlation to the Oberlin athlete and what they face HERE. If you were in class and your professor called you a dyke and made fun of you we would have quite a mess on our hands. It happens all the time to athletes here. There are numerous stories related to me by athletes on this campus of professors publicly degrading them. I have had some athletes tell me that their professors told them to stop playing sports. Many times I have heard tour guides walk through the gym and make fun of our athletic department and our athletes. The overall attitude of students on this campus is that athletes are wasting their time, and of course I won’t mention the incidents already touched upon by [Athletic Director Mike] Muska.
I do agree that in the outside world some athletes receive special privileges, but I fail to see how athletes here at Oberlin have any privilege at all, unless of course you count eating at Wendy’s at 9 p.m. after a road trip a privilege over Stevenson food. The students who choose to participate in athletics here at Oberlin take on more responsibilities than the average Obie. Their schedules are filled with commitments to their schoolwork and their respective sports, and they take on these commitments because they love their sport. Make no mistake, no Oberlin athlete thinks he/she has a professional career waiting for them, but they work hard anyway despite the criticism that they receive from their peers and their environment.
Muska was not attempting to put “sportsphobia” in the same category as racism or homophobia; he was simply trying to illustrate the feelings experienced by these athletes. In doing so, he used racism and homophobia as examples because most educated people can understand what those feelings must be like. His point was that “sportsphobia” exists on this campus, not in our society as a whole!
If we truly are as diverse as we claim to be, then everything at Oberlin would be accepted and supported. Racism and homophobia are not tolerated on this campus, so why should “sportsphobia,” as Mr. Muska terms it, be accepted?
I have been here for five years, so I think I have a decent understanding of Oberlin culture. Do us a favor and wait longer than six months before making your judgements!

–Blake New
Men’s soccer coach
Lecturer, “Sport in Society”


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