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The Inner Conflict of Masculinity - A Personal Reflection in Response to Oklahoma State

When I first heard about the Oklahoma State Football allegations I was shocked, but a specific piece of the allegations cut to the moral core of who I am as a person. The pay for play allegations are nothing new, and many people think NCAA athletes, especially football players, should get paid. We've all seen academic scandals and cheating by tutors, as recently my own rival school UNC was part of a scandal. We've all heard of star players getting more lenient treatment with drug use, and we know many young athletes get involved in substances that are against NCAA rules. What really forced me to reflect was allegations that coach interviewed Hostesses were doing more than their job description, as formers players allege they slept with recruits and players in order to help build a stronger football program.

As a college athlete I now many male recruits are interested in the girls on campus, and even pursue some on their visits. I knew film depictions like the one in Spike Lee's He Got Game, in which Ray Allen plays the country's number one recruit and while on an official visit is set up by one of the team's players with two students for an afternoon of pleasure, occurred. I was downright out disgusted that former Head Coach Les Miles, now at LSU, and current Head Coach, Mike Gundy, interviewed women to become hostesses who then would sleep with recruits to lure them to Oklahoma State allegedly. This is "brothel-like" and it saddens me as a man that this blatant objectifying of a woman's look has that strongly influenced football, a sport I dearly love, and the sporting world as a whole.

Asking around and calling different people about the allegations only escalated the sadness I felt in my heart. The most common response I received when informing those I knew about what Sports Illustrated was reporting was along the lines of:

Don't you wish you were an Oklahoma State recruit now (Dylan, Rhino, etc.). Even if you didn't go there you would still get to have a fun time with a pretty girl.

You can criticize me for believing in "true love" to a fault, but I wouldn't want to be that recruit. I don't want to be pegged as a guy just looking for sex and using women. Of course attraction is a huge part of our desire and for many people the reason we choose to approach someone and get to know them. I've just always hoped for more, that "hopeless romantic" mentality that brings me away from the lifestyle that statements like these try to drive me toward. I remember being pressured constantly in high school and even now with a mentality so common in sport:

You're an (athlete, captain, state champion, etc.), you should be able to get laid whenever you want.

I see so many talented, beautiful, intelligent women around this campus that it just pains me to know that this still happens. I see my roommate's girlfriend who is amazingly artistic and creative, more so than I could ever imagine. I see female classmates who are doing undergraduate research on diseases like pediatric leukemia, and making incredible progress. I see female athletes who have the vision, drive, and passion that inspires me everyday to better myself. I'll never understand why so many women just throw themselves at athletes, celebrities, popular classmates just to say they hooked up with that guy.

The alpha male mentality of the sporting world I so passionately enjoy and the desire for true love and romance engrained in my soul create this inner dilemma. It was always a struggle to me. How could I be this state champions wrestler and all state football player (high school) who needed to lead men yet privately write poetry about romance and love? 

This story has touched upon my own struggle with masculinity and being that sexual conqueror. I even let the pressures of society make me act like I wanted to be that guy around my friends, my teammates, and even my Father. I always felt like I would be less of a man if I admitted that I didn't desire to "hit it and quit it". That's not the person I am, not the person I was, and not the person I desire to be. 

Do I feel like less of a man because of it? 

I can answer that with a simple no.

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