Thursday, April 06, 2006
Jocks and sex
The accusation has never been definitely proven: That the sports culture in high schools, colleges, and professional arenas spurs sexually inappropriate behavior or sexual violence. But each time another athlete or sports team stands accused of sexual misconduct, the question is raised again: Is jock culture somehow responsible?

In the wake of the controversy swirling around Duke University's lacrosse team, I was given the job of looking into that question, and I found that solid answers remain as elusive as ever.

A study by Rutgers University found that the locker-room mentality of some male athletes provides fertile ground for sketchy attitudes toward sex and women. The study, which examined the 2001-2002 academic year, found many male athletes routinely, sometimes exclusively, refer to women through sexual slurs, especially when these men are together as a team. Some male athletes suggest they struggle with turning on and off the violence that is part of their game. And many believe in "accidental rape," that is to say rape that happens in the heat of a moment, often fueled by alcohol, which they feel no one should be blamed for.

But the Rutgers researchers caution that many other athletes and coaches are actively trying to fight such attitudes, and the entire athletic community should not be tarred by actions of some.

Still, victims advocates say American adoration of athletes is so profound that many victims will not come forward to tell their stories if an admired athlete is involved. So the question remains: Even when sexual misconduct by athletes is proven, does it
reveal rare and terrible behavior or something that is all too common in jock culture?
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 8:49 PM ET
  58 Comments
SURVEY SAYS: Yes. Heck yes.
Posted By Anonymous Jon (Baltimore, MD) : 9:11 PM ET
Most definitely this is the case. As a young basketball player in my high school years, I was so emotionally inexperienced. Our team (mob, if you will) mentality encouraged this attitude against women as an ego-boosting exercise. The competitive spirit was fueled. In today's world, I can only imagine it to be even more common given present-day morals.
Posted By Anonymous Raoul Habababidas, San Poco, CA : 9:19 PM ET
Jocks have been getting preferential treatment since the dawn of time, no surprise here. They should be held accountable like everyone else. Look at the High School kids, they get preferred treatment, and they are in training for better and bigger paydays ahead if they get to the pros.

I guess it's not enough to be rich and famous playing a kids game. No apprreciatio for their good fortunes, and hard work.
Posted By Anonymous Evan, Las Vegas, Nevada : 9:32 PM ET
Those who use alcohol as an excuse, and thereby try to deflect blame from themselves, have always blown my mind. How can "no one" be to blame if there is a someone who chose to drink in the first place? Do these people truly walk away from these episodes and feel no sense of guilt whatsoever? It's one thing to say "It wasn't my fault because I was drunk," but I find it hard to believe that these people can look in the mirror at the end of the day and be anything less than disgusted at what they see. Whatever happened to conscience . . .?
Posted By Anonymous Rich Hoffman, Hudson, Ohio : 9:37 PM ET
The problem in Durham has been compounded because of the intense sense of priviledge that many of the (white male) Duke students display--these kids have been groomed to think that they're untouchable because of their class affiliation. I regret terribly the violence that occurred there and the victimization of the young woman, but I am not at all surprised, simply because of the terrible combination that power,class priviledge and testosterone make.
Posted By Anonymous Heather Hollidaysburg, PA. : 9:40 PM ET
Let's not play dumb. Jock culture has, will, and always will RAISE the possibility that these incidents occur. Booze, testosterone, and the whole college environement centering on hooking up/sex again RAISES the possiblity. But the blame for the horrific acts rests on the individuals who committed them. We Americans hand out excuses--blaming environments, parents, teachers, anyone but the students--and in doing so contribute to this "culture" of denial.
Gabriel Elias
Posted By Anonymous Gabriel Elias, Arlington, VA : 9:40 PM ET
I think you have only scratched the surface of this issue. Throughout history most societies have had a form of hero worship that extolled God like characteristics on certain sects of that society. In this modern age of information sharing it has been amplified 100 times. When we give the likes of Paris Hilton a continued forum and adulation beyond what is deserved and we are glued to the life of Hulk Hogan and Flavo Flav on our televisions. It is no suprise that our lowly athletes feel compelled to push their way into the spotlight with misbehavior, as they are given this right by us, those of us that adore them and feel they are Gods.
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Clearwater,Florida : 9:46 PM ET
Saying "jock culture" is to blame for rape, is like sying muslim culture is to blame for terrorism. While there may be a strong correlation, that does not evidence a causal effect. Unfortuately the mainstream media tries to paint the picture any way they can to sell their stories.
Posted By Anonymous R. Holmes, Huntsville, Alabama : 9:52 PM ET
I think that this attitude is very prevelent in the locker rooms of high school and college male locker rooms. I'm a 4th year student at a popular five year university in Boston. Our big team is the hockey team. Girls worship these guys. I think that the egos of these atheletes are boosted in part not only by these swooning girls, but also by the universities. They get special priveledges that allow them to miss certain classes if there is a game and they are not required to do all the things that regular students must do to graduate. They think of themselves as kings in the big castle known as the college campus. My freshman year, I was one of those swooning girls until I found out about a website called the JuniorHockeyBible. I am not sure if the website is still in existence but what I found was disturbing. On the website, each month, a new "hockey bunny" would be chosen. She would be wearing next to nothing. If you clicked on another link there was a dictionary describing sexual acts to do to women. There were blogs for players to tell about thier escapades. It was absolutely appauling. Needless to say, I'm no longer a swooning girl. I think what is going on at Duke now, is something that is most likely going on at every college and university across the nation. It is extremely disturbing and disgusting and should be put to rest.
Posted By Anonymous Arie, NY, 21 : 9:58 PM ET
The "jock culture", like any culture, has its ups and downs. However, that does not mean that athletes shouldn't be punished for their actions, whether alcohol-induced or not. I think we, the American culture, let althetes get off too easily, and that needs to change. Status doesn't excuse action or prevent punishment. What you did is what you did.
Posted By Anonymous Emily, St. Paul, MN : 10:00 PM ET
Is jock culture involved? Unquestionably. But the problem goes deeper than that. Jock culture is an extreme example of the way men are encouraged to behave in Western society. Movies, television, toys, video games, comic books, advertisements and popular music all attempt to force both men and women into stereotypical behavior. Men are supposed to be powerful, violent, and macho; women are supposed to be skinny, sexy, and stupid. When people, especially students (elementary, high school, and college) deviate from these norms, social isolation follows. When I was in high school (just a few years ago), the most revered girls were the (skinny, sexy, "stupid") cheerleaders; the most revered boys were the (big, violent, macho) football players. While adult men (and women) must take full responsibility for their actions, we as a society must realize the enormous impact of cultural training. If we ever want to end rape and violence, we have to create a society where violence and misogyny are discouraged instead of promoted.
Posted By Anonymous Serena Golden, Portland, Oregon : 10:06 PM ET
You can call it "jock culture" or whatever you please. As far as I am concerned it is criminal behavior and refusal of some members of society to evolve beyond their animalistic instincts.
Posted By Anonymous Augie, Boston MA : 10:09 PM ET
A crime or the fault can never lie solely on a "something" - i.e. jock culture, but it can surely play a role in certain misconducts or crimes. To analyze this question of weather jock culture is somehow responsible, one must not look at the study of the male locker-room mentality. We must look at a study of how males act in a group with other males in any environment towards sex and women compared to individually, and I'm sure we'll find the same results. What I am saying is, sure males can act respectful towards women and the issue of sex independently. But when in a group with other males, maybe one or some of the other males in the group have higher testosterone which provokes the rest of the group to act inappropriately and sometimes to the point of a crime. So in a since a result of what is being said is that it is in males to act this way to a degree - a respectful appropriate degree, of how we see males usually act, honest guys not doing anything wrong and just being males jokingly - based on testosterone. But when th nice son, husband, nephew or have you, are place in a group of males and testosterone is now higher, misconduct can possibly happen and even sometimes a crime. Some things also sometimes factor in i.e. a person might just be a bad person, alcohol or the adrenalin from sports. But in the end the blame can never lie on testosterone, bad childhood, alcohol or jock culture but on the victimizer. Also some things can be considered in an empathetic way i.e. bad childhood i.e. rape while younger. I�m not saying because of which a rape should be tolerated.
Posted By Anonymous Asim Tomlin, Greensboro, NC : 10:15 PM ET
It's no secret that the limelight attracts women. Atheletes in all sports don't have many lonely date nights. But there is no free lunch and for those who practice sexual gluttony--lust--a price is ultimately paid. That this could happen at a "nice" Southern Ivy League school like Duke demonstrates our continued hypocrisy towards sexual behavior in general and the sexual behavior of atheletes in particular. When atheletes are accused of rape their reaction is typically bewilderment. They so rarely hear "no" that they are out of practice as to how to proceed.
Posted By Anonymous Garrett Osborne, Marina Del Rey CA : 10:18 PM ET
Don't stop with "jock culture"! Look equally closely at the value given to "entertainers and rock stars culture". The value placed on these opinions is frightening considering the credentials.
Posted By Anonymous James, Orange, California : 10:20 PM ET
I don't believe it is so much just athletes getting away with anything. It is celebrities in general. Look at how the justice system 'works'. If you have enough money, you can buy your way out of jail with a good enough lawyer.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Goodman, Mansfield, OH : 10:20 PM ET
Yah, men should change their attitudes about women. The problem is, all that power corrupts a guy.... money is to a man as beauty is to a woman.... When a man can pick and choose any woman he wants....he gets real real stupid! Sex is no longer sacred....to pretty and powerful people....
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Muskegon, MI : 10:20 PM ET
Why do we always want to blame something other than ourselves. If you do not have moral principles your life will reveal it. We all know what is moral because moral principles speak universally for itself. We like to always find other causes for sick behavior and we sympathize with it simply because the majority of sympathizers have Christian values that often sympathize with wickedness.
Posted By Anonymous Renier Bester, Lewisville TX : 10:22 PM ET
This isn't the only heinous thing that occurrs in jock culture. In my high school-which is heavily oriented on sports-the jocks would get away with just about anything, including bullying.
In the area that I grew up in (different from where I am now), those who had learning disabilities-such as myself-were targets of teasing and bullying by these jocks. I was bullied by one such jock and retaliated. While the jock got away with it, I was the one who got into trouble! The bottom line is: jocks aren't just getting away with sexual violence. In some cases (like mine) they are getting away with breaking other rules as well.
Posted By Anonymous Jared, Cambridge, MA : 10:23 PM ET
I'd be interested to see the frequency of similar incidents in college fraternity culture (especially note what little media coverage these garner) and compare that to what you see in college sports.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Atlanta GA : 10:24 PM ET
I agree with everyone else that most jocks tend to have an extreme superiority complex, especially when it comes to females, BUT, I would argue that in most cases (not all however), the girl is also somewhat at fault. Obviously she is not at fault if she gets dragged into a room and raped, but that is rarely how the situation happens. Girls, knowing full well that they will be surrounded by drunk jocks (and will likely be drunk themselves), choose to attend these parties. They could easily go elsewhere; another frat, sorority, dorm, apartment, but they party with the drunken jocks. So, if you know how the majority of jocks act, especially when drunk, why take the risk? Surely you could have a good/safe time somewhere else. Ultimately though, the blame rests almost squarely on the shoulders of the jock, but these girls honestly should no better than to even put themselves in this kind of dangerous situation.
Posted By Anonymous Justin, Johnstown, PA : 10:29 PM ET
Fighter Pilot Mentality-Tail Hook -jocks- All Men in highly competitive arenas seem to exude that power and undermine women when in groups, and at parties. I had first hand experience there in that venue as a varsity female (feminine) jock and at least it prepared me for the jock mentality workplace of the military, at lest I know what to avoid -no drinks after work, there can be golf in groups of men but that still makes me uncomfortable!
Posted By Anonymous Carol, Chester, VA : 10:35 PM ET
Sadly, it's not just the culture of the locker-room which breeds the sketchy sexual mentality, as the same attitudes are wide-spread in many fraternities. As a recent graduate of a Big Ten school, I can attest to the contstant objectification of women that is not only acceptible but rewarded by the laughs and the high fives of other fraternity brothers. It is sickening, pervasive, and all too acceptible. Society brushes it off as testosterone-driven young men having a good time, but this excuses the behavior that often ensues- sexual exploitation at best and the situation at Duke at the other end of the spectrum.
Posted By Anonymous Dawn Crothers, Los Angeles, CA : 10:35 PM ET
I would say that american jock culture, while not the cause of violent actions such as rape, probably helps them along. I would compare the culture to fertalizer or the agar and nutrients in a petri dish. If the seed is there the culture will nurish it, if it is not I think only in rare instences will the inclenation be created by it. Given this, I think that yes jock culture is a problem. How to solve it is tricky. One way to start is probably to stop building up athletic achievments over academic ones. I am constantly disturbed by our society`s anti intellectualism . If we are to maintain our current way of life and hold off countries like China we are going to need to support and celebrate the boring "elite" egg heads more than Tom Brady`s or Vince Young`s late game heroics.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Kan-onji, Japan : 10:37 PM ET
Imagine my horror this week when out at a bar in Los Angeles with friends I was overheard discussing the Duke lacrosse incident by some (white male) Duke alums, and these guys proceeded to tell me that if something did happen, 'the b*tch deserved it,' that 'she probably liked it' and that 'any girl, including you, should be so lucky.' I had to physically restrain one of my male friends when he came back from the restroom and hear what these jerks said.
Posted By Anonymous Quycksilver, Los Angeles CA : 10:37 PM ET
I do not think that you can blame one group over another, or that being a jock means someone is going to do something like this. THAT being said? I think that the culture does lead towards this behavior, not just about sex, but about everything, how they drive, how they act in a college class everything. Being a "jock" at my University seemed to give the athletes an out on skipping tests, throwing things in the dorms, or harassing women. Then again, when you are talking about this, maybe you should look into the fraternities as well as the sororities. Check out how they make this whole thing worse too.

What it comes right down to is that in my experience, jocks seem to think they have a get of jail free card to run rampant on campuses and through women... without any thought to the hurt they cause. How are they punished? Pats on the back and multi-million dollar contracts.
Posted By Anonymous Ana Watry, Seattle, WA : 10:43 PM ET
I absolutely believe jock culture is to blame.

Jock culture is not about athletics; that these boys (I hesitate to call them men) play sports is incidental. Jock culture celebrates privilege, entitlement, wealth, and winning above all else. Pride in achievement, physical development and sportsmanship-- in short, all the things which should be celebrated in an athlete-- are all secondary in the jock culture, where the emphasis is only on winning at all cost, and these boys feel they should "win" everything they want. And if it's not given to them, they feel entitled to take it-- whether it's sex from an unwilling partner, or performance-enhancing drugs to give them an artificial edge over the competition.
Posted By Anonymous C.A., Columbus, Oh. : 10:46 PM ET
Once again there is a scandal with no hard facts. All we have are allegations--the accused are publicly paraded by the media for all to see but the accuser retains the protection of anonymity. Accusations seem to be enough for most people to decide guilt or innocence. I've served on a jury before including a capital case and it is never that clear cut even after all the known facts are presented and sorted out. People who commit crimes should be punished, period. But we all have a right to our day in court, not to a trial by media circus. Those who make decisions of guilt or innocence based on a 30 second news byte should hang their heads in abject shame--they are almost as much of a disgrace to our society as the criminals are.
Posted By Anonymous Jason San Angelo Texas : 10:51 PM ET
Jock culture most definately increases the chances for trouble to occur because of the blatant double standard. Athlets are shown from very early on that the rules are different for them. Through out an athlete's sport career they are treated in a manner foreign to people who have not experienced it themselves. Their coaches get them out of trouble, pressure teachers to pass them, etc. Women throw themselves at them simply because they are on a certain team or see their name in the paper. They are instantly popular for the same reasons. With all these abnormalities how can people wonder that a few young men believe what everyone has been telling them for years. The rest which are the vast majority either seek solice in anonymity if they can achieve it or keep it from going to their heads.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Hazleton PA : 10:51 PM ET
The fact that this issue is even being raised is based on the presuppostion that the boys actualy commited this act. Is it truly outside the realm of possibility that two black strippers, after being stiffed on the bill for their services, went to the police to get some revenge? Show me some evidence, any evidence, that the team is guilty before this issue is opened for discussion.
Posted By Anonymous Nick Mancusi, Garden City, NY : 10:56 PM ET
I understand the questioning of whether the "jock" mentality fuels such acts of violence against women. But the judgment that this is an "athlete thing" fails to recognize the root of the greater problem.

This day in age, any athlete (or celebrity) who breaks the law is an automatic "news" story which aids the perception that athletes are more likely to commit such acts. We need to keep in mind the much bigger issue that, depending on what statistics you use, every year there are millions of women who are victims of such dispicable acts of violence. Then add on all of the acts that go unreported.

The reality is, this is a much larger problem in our society and should not be limited to "athletes"; its a serious "male" problem that crosses all social classifications.
Posted By Anonymous Drew, Reston, VA : 11:02 PM ET
This all is not limited to athletes, as I have heard men talk of weekend plans or jokes in busness school and Wall Street that share much in these horrific attitudes toward women and sex. Perhaps the "boiler room" shares somethng with the locker rooom that creates these tensions, egos and dysfunctions. And most disturbingly, I also hear women in the high finance and business world express similar aggressive, self-involved and abusive attitudes toward alcohol, sex, cheating, etc.
Posted By Anonymous Robert, New York : 11:11 PM ET
I think it's highly questionable to assert that "jock culture" contributes to sexual assault more so than does our culture in general. I was a college athlete (graduated in 05). I also found and led a sexual assault prevention task force. The truth is, 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted (think about that for a second maybe 1 in 10 of those women will report it.) Jock culture isn't to blame for this - our culture is to blame. Those guys at Duke are detestable, if for nothing else, at least for refusing to help get to the bottom of what was a truly traumatic experience for a young woman. Men need to take a stand against sexual assault. Nearly every sexual assault prevention program is aimed at women - it's way past time for men to actively prevent such behavior. Unfortunately, it's not surprising that in a situation of 45 men and alcohol, 3 would sexually assault a woman. What is shocking and morally repulsive is that 42 men sat by and did nothing. My coach always said, "The game doesn't teach character, it reveals it." Same goes for life.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, San Antonio, TX : 11:15 PM ET
The root of the problem is schools and communities that hold a higher esteem for sports than they do for academics. When children are publicly celebrated for their achievements on the field and their academic achievements are not only ignored, but secretly hidden away in school archives to be forgotten about for a lifetime, you end up with kids that respect their sport and their teammates more than anything else. Your team can't effectively work together if there's distrust and nothing brings about more distrust than a "tattle tale".

But the problem goes much deeper than that. At the collegiate level, many students rely on sports scholarships to stay in school and a problem such as Duke's lacrosse suspension can have a severe negative impact on their life. If the players knew that a suspension of the whole team could happen, that creates an enormous disincentive to bringing miscreants to justice.

Even before college and scholarships, sports have become an essential component to a child's social status. I mean, think about it for a second: If you're a teenager and you want to raise your social status (a natural disposition), what is the most efficient way to do it? There's usually plenty of sports to choose from where you might be able to excel, but how many academic extra-curricular activities can you take part in that will really make you popular?

No one denies that the team mentality of competitive sports can have a negative impact on education, but the real truth is that it can have a negative impact on society as well. The Duke incident is only the tip of the iceberg. Our nation has a long history of scandals, hazing, crime, and generally bad behavior when it comes to sports.

Pick up your local newspaper and have a look at the high school and college statistics and results. What if these kids grades were on that page instead? Is publishing a child's performance in athletics really that different than publishing their performance in academics? Where's the trophy section in our schools devoted to the kid that got a perfect score on his SATs?
Posted By Anonymous Dan McDougall, Jacksonville, FL : 11:16 PM ET
As a former residence hall director, I have had my share of athletes who were good people. But, unfortunately, I have always seen the ones who think they are above the rules, and their coaches reinforce it. At one institution I worked at, students would tell me that their coaches would guarantee even the underage students alcohol access if they brought other students to certain events. Even more egregious was how the athletic director and coaches would buy their students kegs and sponsor parties. While not all athletes or coaches participate in these events, it has definitely been my experience, through attending and working at numerous institutions, that it is more the norm than not.
Posted By Anonymous Julie, Newington, CT : 11:16 PM ET
I have no doubt that there is a strong tie-in between the warped "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" sports mentality so prevalent in this country and violence against women. Male athletes are rewarded for aggressive behavior, on and off the field/court/whatever. They are seen as the top echelon from their student body days on into society at its highest levels (read: income). They are taught to believe that if they want something, they should go after it. And therein lies the problem (or at least one of them) - women as "it" instead of person. We sell cars and beer (and a thousand other things)with sex; how can anyone act surprised that athletes treat it as something else they deserve, another commodity owed to them, or another prize that they have won? Who is going to stand up and say, "you may be good at this, but it's only a game, and it doesn't exempt you from the rules and laws that apply to everyone else?"
Posted By Anonymous S. Brandon, Indianapolis : 11:22 PM ET
Sadly, I think that you barely even touched on this problem. On most of these sports teams the individual player might be a stand-up guy by himself, but add the group mentality and I think you have a recipe for trouble. It's funny that you never hear of the men's swimming team involved in any of these antics. Perhaps this is because most of these men have spent most of their years training with women and have respect for women. When you isolate immature men together, be it in a fraternity or on a sports team, you are asking for trouble.
Posted By Anonymous Lynn Jolly, Menlo Park, CA. : 11:28 PM ET
you are so right on. this comes from a coach of 47 years.
Posted By Anonymous ray woods seattle washington : 2:18 AM ET
The term "jock culture" sounds like some type of fungal growth in an athlete's nether regions, and it takes nerve to ascribe cultural attributes to such behavior. Jocks are prone to rape because they are largely narcissistic egotists who naturally take advantage of the attentions afforded by female admirers. Mix college girls, alcohol, and unnaturally high levels of testosterone together, and you've got a surefire recipe for disaster.
Posted By Anonymous Greg, Santa Monica, CA : 3:00 AM ET
I'm not so sure it is as much an "athlete" centered problem as it is an "adrenaline" fueled problem. These unfortunate incidents have happened at many social type gatherings. Normally these are parties that involve high adrenaline crowds mixed with alcohol. It is way to simplified to point a finger at just athletes. There is an ongoing problem of violence perpetrated on women that does need to be addressed, but at ALL social levels. I applaud the women that have come forward after any instances of abuse...be it at the hands of an athlete or neighbor...
Posted By Anonymous Dee Bolster, Cherokee, Oklahoma : 4:07 AM ET
I spent my would be college years in the US Navy, (17-21). But from the stories i've heard from friends, the college experience seems more about hooking up, sex, and weed. I rarely ever hear them tell stories about their classes or campus life other than the objective to live it up before going out in the real world. When you add the fact that alot of athletes on the whole have a superiority complex you combine that with the fact that alot of them are cherished and have probably never been told no by anyone that had any influence, then a female comes along and who is she to say no to them? As sick as it sounds alot of guys take a faint "no" as a "maybe" or "yes". and another sad part is that after the fact some females believe that they brought those type of things on themselves. Your profession has nothing to do with whether you get raped or not. There are alot of sickos out there that are set off by alot of different things that can range from, bedding the nerdy girl, the girl of a different ethnicity, religion or whatever else you can think of. Sick "boys" that know right from wrong but choose to do wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Randy Smith, NYC : 4:37 AM ET
I'm not sure what jock culture is. But focusing on the goal of the game, at the exclusion of most everything else, is in part, what the coach should be doing. But such controlled environments do seem to be breeding grounds for both good and bad attitudes among the group. Is the collection of these behaviors what you mean by jock culture? Let's say it is... But this doesn't distinguish it from other things, like military culture, where we hear about similar circumstances. Maybe it's best not to separate these for this argument. I don't know enough about this to know the difference.

Sexual misconduct does reveal something unseemly about jock culture, but it is human nature to act in a way that aligns with your peers.

This doesn't mean that rapists don't know that they're doing something very wrong. In fact, it's their failing to overcome the negative attitudes around them that makes them responsible for the rape. Did jock culture make them do it? No. Did it encourage them? Yes. Is it the responsibility of the university or team owner to make sure this doesn't happen? Yes.

But I'm glad to hear that some coaches and athletes are taking the right path here, and are actively combating such attitudes. It sounds like a difficult but worthwhile path. As spectators, how can we help them?
Posted By Anonymous Doug, New Brunswick, NJ : 5:07 AM ET
As a retired educator I can only ask what real purpose competative althletics serve in the academic world. The jock mentality which reeks of arrogance and entitlement becomes all too clear at the high school level.
Posted By Anonymous Bob - Salisbury, Mass. : 6:22 AM ET
Having seen over the decades how exceptional athletes are coveted by their teams and/or schools, I am not surprised that this attitude pervades the sports world. And yet again, I am reading that people will not take responsibility for their actions. When did we grow into a "not me" society? If a person commits an act, they are responsible for that act. Not their childhood, not the weather, not the fact that they didn't eat enough green, leafy vegetables. I want to see persons take the heat they deserve for the actions they do.

Thank you for this opportunity.
Posted By Anonymous Deb Kay, Bunola PA : 6:38 AM ET
I think that we are reaching for an answer that is already right thereIn this instance it appears to be athletes. How many sexual assaults or rapes did Duke have over the last year? How many were linked to athletes. The problem is the notoriety of this team. Do we hear as much about this case if it is regular students? Are the protesters in Durham protesting any time witnesses do not come forward in their town? I doubt it. Those responsible for the alleged crime should pay to the full extent of the law, but we should not punish every student athlete.
Posted By Anonymous Stephen, Richmond, Va. : 7:05 AM ET
The culture here @ Duke is most definetly racist - despite how much they try to tell you about how multi-cultural the campus is. Just bc you admit minorities to meet your quota & give you another feather to put in your cap as you try to sell the university --- it does not mean you have a minority-friendly campus.

Anyone who is here for an extended period of time will clearly see that different races hangout among themselves.

Some of the whites keep to themselves & look down upon other races & the problem is only compounded when it is an exclusive team - namely the lacrosse team.

This university has known about the problems those players have had and decided to turn the other cheek. Even when this news hit, they tried to keep it quiet - which is why so many are upset.

It is a shame that it had to become national news before Duke decided to do something about the racial tensions/issues on campus.
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Durham, NC : 7:15 AM ET
It's especially bad with school athletics. I can vividly remember all through high school and college that the athletes basically had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted, short of a felony, and could get away with it. Since everyone in town knew who they were, even the cops would look the other way if they ran a stoplight or something like that. In school, they could beat up whomever they wanted, no consequences. Hazing was torturous and from what team members-to-be I knew went through, extremely abusive physically and mentally. I am so glad that more people are finally getting caught for it, hopefully it will inspire more schools and teams to step up and take control of their problems.
Posted By Anonymous Devin, Hilliard, OH : 7:29 AM ET
America loves to play the blame game. There are plenty of scumbag rapists out there that never set foot in a locker room or on a football field. Jock culture is to blame for lots of things but only depraved people are to blame for rape and sexual assault.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Enid, Oklahoma : 7:35 AM ET
Give me a break. If this were the case why aren't female athletes out there raping people? The key word in this story is male not athlete.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Kansis City, MO : 8:04 AM ET
Let's be frank here..

We can't use "culture" to pass off blame for incidents from the individuals. Is "hip-hop" culture responsible for that guys body guard getting shot? Is "jock" culture responsible for that girl getting raped? Is "drug" culture responsible for prositituion? And so on...

No culture is responsible for what people do. You have to hold the individuals responsible for their own actions. It's the only way society can function. Once you start giving in to the culture excuse virtually any bad behaviour can be justified.
Posted By Anonymous Pete, New York City NY : 8:08 AM ET
Heather, as a graduate of Duke University I am surprised to find out I went through four years in Durham without realizing I posessed a priviledged class affiliation because I was a white male student. To draw connections between the supposed actions of a few athletes and the greater athletic community is one thing, but to generalize this comparison to a entire university's white male population is ridiculous. What has been reported in Durham is a disgusting crime, but it is repulsed, not embraced, by the university population, white males included. The sad fact is that rape happens all the time on university campuses throughout the country. But, stories generally get a lot more media attention when they involve high profile athletes. This story has racial overtones which make it that much more upsetting.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Arlington VA : 8:23 AM ET
This is not rare behavior, this has been going on for years. Winning coaches know they must instill a sense of winning mentality in their players...a sense of "I can do anything I put my mind too". This type of attitude is common in type A personalities. What some coaches fail to teach so often is how to control this attitude on and off the field. Once you get those endorphens going it is hard to control them unless you have a solid set of moral values. The job of a coach is not just confined to the 'game'. It should be about the whole individual.
Posted By Anonymous FB, Del Rio, Texas : 9:47 AM ET
Thank you for telling these stories. I was recently sexually assaulted and robbed by a number of members of a local hockey team; Because of their high standing in the community, the detective actually talked me out of pressing charges by saying it would be too hard to prosecute the case, due to publicity.

The lesser charges of credit card fraud, by way of robbery, were thrown out because, I'm told, the bank wasn't "co-operating with the investigation".

Jock culture may be to blame, but so are the communities perpetuating it.
Posted By Anonymous Janis, Aurora, Ontario. : 9:53 AM ET
Give me a break. When a woman holds an illegitimate "job" such as a stripper, what SHOULD she expect. We sit here and decry the possibility of a rape, and we should, but we don't decry the fact that we have women who strip for money. What a load of balderdash. Someone once said "you get what you ask for," and when a woman is exposing herself to a bunch of drunk jocks then she is in essence setting herself up in a dangerous situation. America has a serious morality problem and until we clean it up these sorts of things are going to continue to happen.
Posted By Anonymous JJ, Las Cruces, NM : 9:59 AM ET
You cannot label all athletes as being a part of this "jock culture." The media revels on controversial stories, so these simple-minded, insecure, weak, "oh blame the alcohol, its not my fault" rapists and womanizers always catch the attention of the camera and pen for the athletic community. This sexual misconduct and mentality is not just centered in the jock culture, its just the side effect of the male culture in America that is not secure enough with their sexuality to show women the respect they deserve.
Posted By Anonymous JP, Las Cruces, New Mexico : 10:34 AM ET
We would not have this problem if athletes weren't glorified the way they are. Professionals get paid millions of dollars to play a game; games that have taken center stage in our world. In the college environment, you mix these stud athletes with booze and women, and these things happen. There is noway to stop this epidemic. Athletes + college + alcohol =sex. End of story. Why don't we start paying teachers millions and maybe we can work on changing this trend??
Posted By Anonymous Geff, Silver Spring, ID : 10:40 AM ET
There are how many thousand athletes in the NCAA, and yet we still want to place the blame for (assuming guilt) the actions on a collective whole? The fact is that those who are unable to seperate violence in sports and life are responsible for themselves.

It's also facetious to assume the reason that some cases go unreported is due to the adoration of athletes. These are the same people claiming most real cases of rape aren't reported. Are these for admiration of the criminals who do this?

The bottom line is that those who are responsible for the actions need to take personal responsibility and others need to accept that there will always be those who stray from the norm. Looking for answers other than the obvious isn't productive and helps no one.
Posted By Anonymous JD. Dudar, Winnipeg, Manitoba : 11:08 AM ET
Calling Lacrosse players jocks is like calling apples oranges.
Posted By Anonymous Jimmy, Corpus Christi, TX : 12:36 PM ET
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