New hate speech protocol brings new rules and impacts to the athletic program
September 12, 2018
The North Suburban Conference (NSC), the group of schools that Lake Zurich competes against during sports, has come out with a first ever Hate Speech Protocol which will be put in place starting this season.
The goal of putting this protocol in place was to educate student athletes on how serious using inappropriate language is, according to Andrew Lambert, athletic director. Although hate speech is not a huge problem at LZ the NSC saw it as an opportunity to prevent situations involving hate speech, Lambert states.
“We didn’t feel like [hate speech] was a major problem, but we did feel like there was an opportunity for us to educate our student athletes on the inappropriateness of using that type of language. To have a better understanding of pacientences, sympathy and empathy for other individuals,” Lambert said. “We took what the Central Suburban league had together and modified it to fit with what we felt were the guidelines that would fit best with our conference.”
The consequences for hate speech during a game are serious, according to Hayley Burk, sophomore and student athlete who was present when the administration first explained the protocol. Although some hate speech can be seen as a “joke” in the beginning, they can become harsh and hurt an athlete’s feelings, Burk said.
“I get some of the cheers at the football games, but some of them can be offensive. Like I remember going to a basketball game and one of the players were trying to score a free throw and the audiences was screaming and chanting. I would get messed up if I heard those cheers,” Burk said. “The punishment is stopping the game, and I don’t think anyone really wants to do that. It probably just starts off as a joke, but then it can get really serious. There’s some big consequences [for hate speech], like getting kicked off the team and I don’t think anyone wants to go that far.”
While this protocol seems to be very beneficial and have a lot potential to help athletes eliminate hate speech, there is a flaw, according to James Schagorin, junior and varsity football player. Being falsely accused can be a severe problem unless the referee directly hears it, Schagorin warns.
“The ref could say that [the player] called me such and such, but he didn’t actually call him that. What’s the ref going to do about it if he didn’t? Unless the refs are directly in hearing range of it, someone can falsely accuse other player. That what worries me most about the protocol,” Schagorin said.
Although there are flaws, this protocol was made to be beneficial, according to Burk. NSC taking this initiative of bringing this protocol into the rule books will hopefully help other schools see the same problem and take actions to put this protocol into place.
“I think that if our school, if the students knew not to do it to other schools and that if other schools knew then they wouldn’t do it to us. We need to start from within our own team, and lead by example,” Burk said. “Once you spread it around your own team than you have more people to spread it around to other teams.”