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Remarks at soccer game offensive to crowd

Lawrence Cunningham | Sunday, September 14, 2003

I have been a long time fan of Notre Dame soccer, going both to the men’s and women’s games. There is a group of Notre Dame students (male) who also go to support both teams forming a single cheering section. They are vigorous, loud and, on rare occasions, funny. The problem is that they are also frequently obnoxious, unremittingly vulgar and a disgrace to the university.

On Friday evening, Sept. 12, they amused themselves with a steady string of homophobic remarks and vulgarities directed at the opposing goalie. On Saturday, Sept. 13, they directed repulsive remarks to the opposing goalie comparing her to various animals. There are not 80,000 people in the stands, so their braying remarks carry a goodly distance.

People in the stands were appalled by their behavior (e.g. a family with a prospective student, the coaches of a visiting high school team, a man who was restrained by his wife from going down to shut them up, etc.). I spoke to one of them on Friday but, seemingly, to no effect. I did apologize to the visitors whom I could identify.

I am not proposing some politically correct speech code. I am merely noting how much they besmirch the reputation of the student body by their loutish activities. I do not know their names. I can only hope that they read this letter and realize what oafs they are and how bad they appear to the people who come to the games. Let them be funny, wild, loud and a little out of control. However, let them not be offensive to the crowd and hurtful to the opposition. Cardinal John Newman once said that the gentleman never consciously offends. These guys don’t seem to have the wit to see how offensive they are. I am ashamed of them and the bad name they give this school.

Lawrence Cunninghamdepartment of theologySept. 14