We were disgusted to hear about racist noisemaking directed toward a Horlick High School boys basketball player by Franklin High School students when the Rebels played at Franklin on Feb. 22. On March 2, Franklin High School Principal Michael Vuolo made an announcement regarding the incident to the entire Franklin campus. “Our conduct, at all times, for better and for worse, serves to define who we are as a school community.
“As fans, we must be responsible for our actions and how they serve to define us as a school community. Cruel behavior in all forms needs to stop. There is absolutely no place whatsoever in our community for name calling or degradation.”
After being contacted by Racine Unified School District Superintendent Lolli Haws, Franklin Public Schools Superintendent Judy Mueller sent separate apology letters to the athletes who were the targets of the racist behavior and to Unified administrators.
We expected that the educators would do the right thing, so we’re glad to see our expectations met. Considering this is the second published report of overtly racist behavior by Franklin High School students in 2018, we’re hoping the next step — making clear that that kind of behavior is inappropriate and unacceptable — is taking place at kitchen tables and living rooms in the Franklin district.
No double standards:
The National Football League seems to have a curious double standard when it comes to players and cheerleaders. Bailey Davis, a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints, said she followed team rules regarding social media and made her Instagram page private so only people she approved could see what she posted. But when she posted a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit in January, Saints officials accused her, despite her protests, of breaking rules that prohibit cheerleaders from appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie, the New York Times reported. For this indiscretion, and amid an inquiry about her attending a party with Saints players — another regulation that she denies violating — Davis was fired after what she said were three largely trouble-free seasons.
Davis has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the Saints of having two sets of rules — one for the team’s cheerleaders, who are all women, and another for its players. We think Ms. Davis has a case: Cheerleaders are told not to dine in the same restaurant as players, or speak to them in any detail. If a Saints cheerleader enters a restaurant and a player is already there, she must leave. If a cheerleader is in a restaurant and a player arrives afterward, she must leave. There are nearly 2,000 NFL players, and many of them use pseudonyms on social media. Cheerleaders must find a way to block each one, while players have no limits on who can follow them. The team says its rules are designed to protect cheerleaders from players preying on them. But it puts the onus on the women to fend off the men.
“If the cheerleaders can’t contact the players, then the players shouldn’t be able to contact the cheerleaders,” said Sara Blackwell, Davis’s lawyer. “The antiquated stereotype of women needing to hide for their own protection is not permitted in America and certainly not in the workplace.” We’d say that if the NFL feels that the prospect of players and cheerleaders fraternizing is such a problem, the same standards should apply to both groups.
Chicagoans “on a mission from God”:
If you remember that line from “The Blues Brothers,” you know that Jake and Elwood were trying to raise money to save the St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage, where they were raised, from foreclosure. A different set of Chicagoans — the Loyola University men’s basketball team — is on a mission this weekend, but the nun with them seems considerably sweeter than the often-irreverent movie’s fictional Sister Stigmata. Over the past three weeks the team chaplain, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, 98 years young, has become a national celebrity. You’ve seen her at courtside; you’ve probably heard about the detailed scouting reports she prepares for the players, and you may have heard that she received a Twitter shout-out from former President Barack Obama after the Ramblers’ first-round upset win on March 15.
According to ESPN, Sister Jean is the most-tweeted-about member of the Ramblers organization. A bobblehead of Sister Jean became the best seller in the history of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum within 48 hours of its release, according to the Washington Post. She has been interviewed by a number of national and international outlets, some referring to her as the “biggest star of the tournament,” the Chicago Tribune reported. That assessment sounds about right: For we casual basketball fans, still learning the names of the Loyola players, having just one nun getting so much attention does help with name recognition.