Harvard University men's soccer team suspended for sexually explicit 'scouting reports'

Dating back to 2012, males players had circulated comments and social media pictures of members of the female team

BY James Dempsey 15:03 Monday 7 November 2016, 15:03 7 Nov 2016

[Flickr/Tabitha Russell]

The men’s soccer team at Harvard University in the United States has been suspended from all remaining games of the Ivy League season after an investigation revealed that players had created an annual ‘scouting report’ that ranked the college’s female players on their physical appearance and sexual appeal.

The team has now issued an apology for the sexual comments on the website of the college newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, in which the male players said that their behaviour was inexcusable and that no women should be subject to such treatment.

The Crimson broke the story last month, when it posted an article that showed that the history of the ‘scouting report’ goes back as far as 2012. An official investigation carried out by the university’s administration found that the lewd comments continued in subsequent years and through to the current season.

The team, which had been leading the league, will now forfeit all remaining games.

“We sincerely apologise for the harm our words and actions have caused women everywhere, and especially our close friend on the women’s soccer team,” the Harvard Men’s Soccer apology said.

“We are deeply ashamed that it took a public revelation, a loss of trust and damaged friendships for us to fully grasp the gravity of our conduct, for which each member of our team takes full and equal responsibility.

“No woman deserves to be treated in this manner; nor our mothers, our sisters, nor our peers. We apologise to them, and to all those who trusted us, supported us and believed in us.”

The actions of the male players were condemned by Harvard’s president, Drew Faust, while the male and female coaches Pieter Lehrer and Chris Hamblin called the email thread unacceptable, disrespectful, and shocking.

Members of the make team have now vowed to do everything that they can to earn back the trust of the university’s female staff and students.

“To do so, we must first confront the issues of sexism and misogyny within our own locker room, so that we can take up the call issued by the women of the Harvard Women’s soccer class of 2016 to join them in combating this sort of behaviour,” the apology reads.

“Starting with ourselves, all players on this team now commit our efforts to spur a cultural change that goes beyond the scope of our own team.”

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