Concordia Athletics stands together against harassment and discrimination
The Concordia Courier
By Eva Prewitt | 9/22/2023
With enthusiasm and vigor, the women’s soccer team hit the pitch to host their home opener on Aug. 31 against Cal State University Los Angeles. Following the competition was a distressing incident involving use of a racial slur directed toward one of our players.
After Concordia’s 1-0 loss, both teams dispersed to pack their things and prepare to leave the field. What began as spirited competitive behavior during the match, escalated off the field. A CSULA athlete taunted Concordia senior team captain Layla Comeaux by repeatedly yelling “yeah n*****” in her face. This took place in front of surrounding teammates and coaches.
Can some good come out of an upsetting, unsportsmanlike moment? The Concordia community believes it can.
This incident sparks an opening for discussion addressing the prevalence of racism in sports and the need for education, awareness and support to combat negative behavior.
“There is no room for racism in anything that we do. We should be able to go out and play the sport we love, or do anything we love for that matter, and not have to fear oppression and discrimination,” said Comeaux.
In response to the incident, Athletic Director Crystal Rosenthal said “that our student-athletes know they are supported by our department” and are “protected and heard.”
“My team made sure to show me a lot of love, but at the same time, we didn’t make this my whole identity. They treated me normally but still made sure I knew their intentions and that they stand behind me...I love and appreciate them all as family,” said Comeaux.
Team captain and fellow senior Gabby Breton said, “Our program is one big family, so while we may not be able to understand completely what she’s been going through, one of the most important things is that Layla doesn’t feel alone through this whole thing.”
Brianna Guerra, another team captain, added, “As a
team, we were ready to have Layla’s back in any decision she were to make in that moment and then on.”
At Concordia, we are called to honor, respect, support and stand up for one another in the wake of racial discrimination. But sometimes we may feel at a loss for how to express ourselves. Comeaux offered this advice, “Don’t tell the victim how to feel, but let them know you are there for them no matter what.”
After the game, CUI Athletics issued a statement strongly condemning the sin of racism that erodes dignity. “The main purpose was to support our player and support our program and to let everybody know that we don’t tolerate this kind of behavior and we will not allow someone from our institution to be treated like that,” said Rosenthal.
CSULA is actively investigating the incident. The school’s Executive Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross said, “We apologize for the inconvenience, but due to the ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide any comments or information at this time.” He added, “Our Universitytakesthesematters with the utmost seriousness and is investigating. We do not condone the use of hurtful, demeaning, and demoralizing language or actions by anyone.”
Racism in sports, in the justice system and in our everyday community is a prevalent issue. Comeaux encourages her fellow students to continue to engage in tough conversations. “Take action, and don’t be silenced. This is an ongoing fight that we must fight every day in order to get this fixed,” said Comeaux.
"If something like this occurs again please report this and know as a department we will not stand for racism of any sort,” added Rosenthal.
To report matters of racial injustice, contact Assistant Athletic Director and Title IX Officer Brittany Pereda at email@example.com. You can also contact your coach or any member of the athletic administration. “Everybody is trained to understand what to do if something like this happens,” said Rosenthal.
After the loss to CSULA, the Golden Eagles are currently on a five game win streak. The women beat Cal State East Bay 1-0 on Thurs., Sept. 21 and next face Point Loma this Saturday at home in the PacWest conference opener.
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