A Tennessee high school athletic director was placed on administrative leave after making comments that parents said were sexist and misogynistic.
On Wednesday, Soddy-Daisy High School athletic director Jared Hensley was addressing the school’s dress code policy on athletic shorts when he made some questionable comments. Students are currently not allowed to wear athletic shorts at school, something that Hensley said was because of girls.
“If you really want someone to blame, blame the girls because they pretty much ruin everything” Hensley said.
He didn’t stop there though. Hensley continued on by blaming girls for pretty much everything since the beginning of time.
“They ruin the dress code, they ruin…well, ask Adam. Look at Eve. That’s really all you really gotta get to, OK. You can really go back to the beginning of time.” Hensley said. “So, it’ll be like that the rest of your life. Get used to it, keep your mouth shut, suck it up [and] follow the rules.”
The school district placed him on administrative leave after reviewing the video and finding his comments “inexcusable.”
Parents have criticized Hensley’s comments, saying that it was part of a culture that enabled sexual assault and harassment.
Alicia Whitley, who has three daughters and two sons, said that what Hensley said was comparable to accusations and excuses made for current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“This is how Kavanaugh is getting so much support from the GOP. This nation has made sexism normal and acceptable. People feel like they can say things like this with no repercussions,” Whitley said to the Times Free Press.
The #MeToo movement has been growing in the past year with allegations and repercussions coming against high profile men like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosy, executives in the Dallas Mavericks organization and Kavanaugh.
Dawn Sloan Downes, who is a writer with the Chattanooga Moms Blog, said that Hensley’s comments are no different than the messages women have received and are currently receiving from powerful men.
“It mirrors the message society sends when it says a rape victim has ruined a boy’s life because she came forward,” she said. “All of these messages tell girls that the only thing that matters is what men or boys want and that girls themselves, only matter as obstacles preventing boys and men from having what they want.”
Taylor Lyons, a co-founder of the activist group Chattanooga Moms for Social Justice that helped make Hensley’s comments viral, agreed with Downes. She also said that she believes Hensley would try to mitigate his actions by saying he was joking.
“Given the current social climate, his comments are insensitive at best and wildly inappropriate at worst,” Lyons said. “To suggest that ‘girls are responsible for ruining everything since the beginning of time and will continue to do so’ is completely unacceptable, and he needs to apologize.”
Although Lyons and other parents want Hensley to issue an apology, not everyone agrees.
Rhonda Thurman, a school board representative, believes that Hensley meant no harm.
“I’m not worried about that right now. He meant absolutely no harm by this,” she said. “This is so ridiculous. Can nobody take a joke anymore? He was just talking to the kids in their language and trying to be funny.”
Policing female’s athletes
Soddy-Daisy High isn’t the only place where athletic clothing controversies have hit this year.
Williams, who nearly died from blood clots while giving birth last September, wore a Wakanda-inspired black catsuit at Roland Garros in May. The suit was also designed to help her with blood circulation, but that didn’t stop French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli.
Giudicelli announced a new dress code for next year’s French Open, saying that he thought players “went too far” and they “must respect the game and the place.”
Cornet made her own headlines several months later at the U.S. Open when she was penalized for changing her backwards shirt on-court.
Alize Cornet came back to court after 10 minute heat break. Had her fresh shirt on back to front. Changed at back of court. Got a code violation. Unsportsmanlike conduct….. 😳
But the men can change shirts on court. https://t.co/sCN4KDXYTb
— judy murray (@JudyMurray) August 28, 2018
Officials apologized and clarified afterward that players could change in their chairs without penalty, but not at the back of the court.
Williams brought up Cornet at her U.S. Open Women’s final press conference. She had a meltdown while playing eventual champion Naomi Osaka over what she believed to be a sexist penalty by the chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
“For me it blows my mind, but I’m going to continue to fight for women” Williams said. “The fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person.”
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