Video of Oklahoma fraternity members gleefully singing a racist song surfaced over the weekend, leading to a prompt response from the university — and from Oklahoma Sooners star linebacker Eric Striker.
— IrishSooner (@IrishSooner) March 9, 2015
Oddly, there was more contrition coming from Striker and the Sooners football team as of this writing Monday morning than from the Oklahoma fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Don't try to judge my brother Eric Striker on his emotions for his snapchat, he meant no harm just speaking how he feels. #respect
— Durron Neal (@RealDNeal) March 9, 2015
Eric Striker meant no harm by the snap chat.. He was angry and spoke off emotions and he is sorry for the cussing. pic.twitter.com/iKKuiz6lFt
— Charles Tapper (@Takeflightchuck) March 9, 2015
Chalk it up to Eric Striker having more class than the SAE cretins, but really, he shouldn’t feel compelled to apologize. He’s right, and it points to an interesting conversation that’s incredibly difficult to have.
Racism is still prevalent in our society. And, since football plays a continuously prominent role in the societal landscape, racism bubbles into the sport, though its latent.
Racism in American sports takes on a much different face than the all-too-common displays of hate that put a pockmark on soccer. Last week, Chelsea fans caused a disturbance on a train following the League Cup match.
Stateside, it’s much different. As Eric Striker points out, racists like those in the Oklahoma fraternity are just as giddy having football stars show up to their parties as they are singing hateful songs.
Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins summed it up well.
There will never be a nigger in SAE? but y'all still wana cheer for those niggers playing on the field every Saturday? Some fans you are
— Jordan Jenkins (@jordanOLB) March 9, 2015
Here’s why having this conversation is so difficult. Many of the same people with his regressive line of thinking are also the biggest cleat-chasers.
We’re only made aware of the problem when a fraternity is secretly filmed, or the owner of an NBA franchise is secretly recorded.
Sticking out heads in the sand and pretending this is the exception won’t solve anything, but I don’t expect a media-driven conversation — because, frankly, plenty of media suffers from the same problem of latent racism.
It’s not enough for a player to be great; he has to be great and show what’s deemed to be humility. It’s why Richard Sherman, a man who worked his way from Compton to become a Stanford graduate, can be called a thug.
And it’s why Eric Striker telling the truth necessitates an apology. There’s likely to be as much hand-wringing over his use of a curse word as there is condemnation for the Oklahoma fraternity. And that’s a big problem.
EDIT at 9:16 a.m PT: Worthwhile insight from an OU Daily reporter, Jesse Pound:
— Jesse Pound (@jesserpound) March 9, 2015