The event, which costs eighty dollars to attend, with the proceeds benefitting local charities, was put on hold for the last few years while the school’s football stadium was being renovated. This year Chalk Talk returned with a vengeance—literally.
For an event that seeks to make woman students want to support the football team, this year’s presentation really missed the mark, since it was full of sexism. Really, the concept of the event itself is pretty sexist in itself, since women don’t need men’s permission to like football. But the comments made at this year’s event were seriously offensive.
The presentation, given by two of the team’s assistant coaches, Jim Turner and Jeff Banks, included replacing words from the school’s fight song with lines that describe how much women love cleaning. Seriously, the adapted song begins, “We are Aggie women / We are filled with estrogen,” and it doesn’t get any better from there.
The presentation also explained basic football strategy using inappropriate and unnecessary sexual references. The assistant coaches’ advice on how to block a pass include, “Don’t let him inside, keep your hips down, don’t go down.” And if you think that’s absurd, please know I chose the least graphic of the instructions to include.
Sports reporter Anwar Robinson tweeted several photos of sexists slides at the event, and reported that many women were not laughing.
Later, the head coach of the Texas A&M football team, Kevin Sumlin, issued a statement condemning the assistant coaches’ failed attempt at humor.
Sumlin’s statement, released last Friday morning, apologizes for the content of the presentation, saying, “While I was in attendance at the Chalk Talk event this week, I was engaged in meeting participants, taking photographs and signing autographs and I was unaware of the contents of Jim and Jeff’s presentations until this morning. Upon learning of the details, I immediately consulted with Director of Athletics Scott Woodward, and made the decision that both Jim and Jeff will be suspended without pay for two weeks effective immediately and will serve 20 hours of community service. I have addressed the issue with both of them and have their commitment to be better representatives of our program.”
The assistant coaches responsible issued their own statement as well: “We want to sincerely apologize to the passionate Aggie fans and to women everywhere for our failed attempt at humor during this week’s Aggie Football Chalk Talk and fundraiser. We clearly understand now that our comments and slides were not appropriate or consistent with the values of our football program or our Department. We must do better, and we will.”
We can only hope that these two men learn from this experience and finally realize that sexist jokes aren’t actually funny, especially when you tell them to women.