Thursday, August 14, 2008

Double trouble, double standard?

Two champion university wrestlers have been dismissed, and their NCAA eligibility threatened, because they appeared naked on a website catering to gay men. The two men, who are legally of age, used pseudonyms and apparently were photographed alone.

In a statement, the coach said that the wrestlers “have been permanently dismissed from our wrestling program. The history of behavior of these men, including the current matter, does not reflect the standard of excellence we aspire to on and off the mat." He didn’t elaborate on what “the history of behavior” meant.

First and foremost, there’s a generational clash here. Younger people just aren’t as weird about sexuality or their bodies as older people are. The two men probably just saw a way to make some money.

But to me there’s a whiff of homophobia in this. I have a tough time believing that the university would have been as harsh if the photos had appeared on a heterosexual site (presumably for women). However, the photos were on a gay-oriented site and reportedly showed the men “in various states of sexual arousal”, and that would have caused problems for the wrestling industry.

Wrestling is a very homoerotic sport—everyone knows it, but no one admits it. So maybe the coach was oversensitive because the photos were on a gay-oriented site. Maybe he had to “prove” there’s nothing gay about wrestling. Yeah, well, this over-reaction won’t do that.

There’s an even bigger issue here, and that’s that a scandal muckraking website apparently went to the university with this, and someone leaked the two men’s real names. Had this not happened, neither the university nor anyone else would have known who the two men really were, so they couldn’t possibly embarrass the coach or the other sensitive souls at the university. Sounds like a suspect agenda to me.

I have no problem with nude photographs or pornography involving consenting adults. I do have a problem with the university’s gross over-reaction, however. I also hope that this is as bad as the story gets.


lost in france said...

I have only one word to say: "Paul Donahoe". And where is the link to that other website?

Arthur Schenck said...

Hm, if you're meaning a link to the site where the photos were, the news article says they've been taken down. I suppose that was inevitable.