On Saturday, the six women described in the reports published an op-ed piece in the Crimson titled, “Stronger Together.” In it, they detailed their reaction to the news of the “scouting reports” and the reality of what women still face.
In all, we do not pity ourselves, nor do we ache most because of the personal nature of this attack. More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives. We feel hopeless because men who are supposed to be our brothers degrade us like this. We are appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance. We are distraught that mothers having daughters almost a half century after getting equal rights have to worry about men’s entitlement to bodies that aren’t theirs. We are concerned for the future, because we know that the only way we can truly move past this culture is for the very men who perpetrate it to stop it in its tracks.
Harvard Athletic Director Bob Scalise told the Crimson he did not see the document until early last week. In a statement, he said the decision to cancel the rest of this season stems partly from the fact that the reports continued into this year.
“I understand that this practice appears to be more widespread across the team and has continued beyond 2012, including in 2016, and that current students who participated were not immediately forthcoming about their involvement,” Scalise said.
With two regular season games remaining, the 10-3-2 Crimson now forfeit their ability to compete in the Ivy League and NCAA tournaments. The team would have clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with a victory over Columbia on Saturday.
“We strongly believe that this immediate and significant action is absolutely necessary if we are to create an environment of mutual support, respect and trust among our students and our teams,” Scalise added.
“I was deeply distressed to learn that the appalling actions of the 2012 men’s soccer team were not isolated to one year or the actions of a few individuals, but appear to have been more wide-spread across the team and have continued beyond 2012, including in the current season,” Harvard President Drew Faust said in a statement.
“The decision to cancel a season is serious and consequential, and reflects Harvard’s view that both the team’s behavior and the failure to be forthcoming when initially questioned are completely unacceptable, have no place at Harvard, and run counter to the mutual respect that is a core value of our community,” she added.
On Friday, members of the team put forth a public apology in the form of an op-ed published by the Crimson.
“We sincerely apologize for the harm our words and actions have caused women everywhere, and especially our close friends on the Women’s Soccer team,” reads the opening paragraph. “Our team has been blessed with the opportunity to know and learn from these incredible women, receive their unconditional support, and form with them some of the strongest friendships on this campus. In return, we hurt them with the things we said, in the form of the inappropriate scouting reports, and with the things we did not say, in the form of our dishonesty toward them, and for that we are very sorry.”