clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Everything You Need To Know About Syracuse's Hanna Strong Situation

New, 86 comments

A video of an SU women's soccer player using racial and homophobic slurs went viral over the weekend. Great.

So I'm way late coming into this but let's get caught up on the whole Hanna Strong thing.

Who is Hanna Strong?

She's a senior midfielder for the Syracuse Orange women's soccer team. From Monson, MA, she's not a starter but she has seen some playing time and scored a couple goals over her career. Also, you'd never heard of her before this weekend.

So why have I heard of her now?

Well, this video is probably the reason. It's not pleasant.

What does Syracuse's women's soccer coach think?

Well, head coach Phil Wheddon indefinitely suspended Strong when the video went viral on social media, so he's not pleased. Probably not used to being crowded during post-game pressers, he deflected discussion following SU's win over Vermont. It doesn't come off very well, but I'm wondering if he's under orders not to discuss it.

What does SU Athletic Director DOCTOR Daryl Gross think?

He's not too happy either.

"We are aware of the offensive comments made last night by a member of the women's soccer team. This type of intolerant and hurtful language, focused on both race and sexual orientation, is not part of the culture we seek to foster among our student-athletes and it has no place at Syracuse University.

When he's not busy ruining students' lives by closing down Castle Court, what does SU Chancellor Kent Syverdud think?

He's REALLY not happy.

"As with everything we do here, our first and most important duty is to our students," Syverud wrote in an e-mail provided by Syracuse senior vice-president for public affairs Kevin Quinn. "All of us who are part of the University have a responsibility to make sure the community our students experience is one that is respectful, safe, and supportive. For that reason, we do not tolerate hate speech, including hate speech directed at a person's race or sexual orientation."

What do her fellow SU athletes think.

Here's where it gets a little weird. Initial reactions from current and former SU athletes ranged from disgust to a kind-of "get over it" reaction - the gist of which seems to be that because Strong, who is white, hangs out with a lot of black people, it's not a big deal to use the N-word (no one seems to be too concerned with the F-word but, that's another story).

The one reaction I found kind of dispiriting was that this was a "mistake." I don't know about you but I feel like we've lost the concept of what a mistake is defined as. Here, let me spell it out...

Former SU football player and current Atlanta Falcons player Marquis Spruill summed up the feelings on the matter best, I thought.

So how much trouble is Strong in now?

Probably a lot. The SU Department of Public Safety and the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services are investigating the incident. She's almost certainly going to have to go before the Judicial Affairs court and we all know how kind that group is. As for her SU soccer career, it remains to be seen. Remember, we're still early in the process and she has yet to apologize and take steps to right the situation. That's still to come.

"WHAT ABOUT HER FIRST AMENDMENT RITES??? WHAT IS THIS, NAZI WEST GERMANY???"

Sigh. For the millionth time, the First Amendment protects speech from government action but it does not protect speech from action by a private entity. Syracuse University is a private entity and therefore the First Amendment does not apply to them. They are well within their rights to punish her for her comments, however they decide to do so.

Is this only happening because she's an athlete?

Yes and no. If a video of a random, non-sports-related Syracuse University student showed up online, it still probably would have gone viral. It's not like Strong was a public figure. I'm willing to bet a good number of people didn't even know she was an athlete while they were initially viewing/sharing it.

That said, because she's an athlete, that's always going to garner attention above and beyond a normal student. The sports media will (and did) notice. That's a story on top of a story. Better or worse, we do hold student-athletes to a higher standard. And though that standard seems illogical and unfair at times, it's just kind of what we do as a society.

Will Strong apologize?

I have to believe she will. She'd be crazy not to. Jesse Dougherty at the DO has a great piece on the matter, citing how this is an opportunity for Strong to shift the dialogue from "that girl is an ***hole" to "why do we think it's okay to say those words and how can we change that?"

Is this all because the Chancellor closed Castle Court?

Probably. #SaveCuse