Friday, February 24, 2012 • 1:06 PM Comments ()

BU Questions Hockey Culture After Players Charged with Rape and Sexual Assault

posted by Pete Redington

Boston University has 33,000 students. This year, half a dozen of them have been accused of sexual assault, two of whom are prominent members of the school’s nationally ranked men’s hockey team. Which has the university looking into the culture of their hockey program, and its relation to the rest of the campus.

“After the recent arrests of two star BU hockey players on sexual assault charges, the school’s president, Robert Brown, is launching a task force to examine its hockey culture and determine whether some of its team members believe they are above campus rules and the law,” Mary Carmichael reports for the Boston Globe.

Last December, Corey Trivino, the team’s leading scorer, was arrested for allegedly breaking into a woman’s room. Last weekend, Max Nicastro, the team’s star defenseman, was arrested for “allegedly raping a female student on the riverside campus,” Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Bob Hohler write for the Boston Globe. Trivino and Nicastro have already been drafted by the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, respectively.

In response to these allegations, BU President Robert Brown released a letter stating:

“These charges, if ultimately substantiated, involve reprehensible acts … The charges in these cases understandably lead to questions about whether the hockey team’s culture and climate have contributed in some way to the actions of the two individuals. The University must address these questions and, if deficiencies are identified, make appropriate and necessary changes.”

I find it interesting, and appropriate, that the university is viewing these incidents as an issue that is larger than the independent actions of two students. And it made me think of a recent documentary release from Northampton’s own Media Education Foundation (MEF): The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men.

While The Bro Code addresses cultural messages that are far larger than the alleged deplorable actions of two college hockey players, it is these instances that speak to the importance of questioning any cultural message that correlates the virtues of masculinity with the physical dominance of women.

A few startling statistics.

- Every year, there are 5.3 million (reported!) cases of domestic violence

- 1300 of which result in death

- Every year, there are more than 200,000 (reported!) cases of rape

- 44% of these rape victims are under 18

- 1 out of every 6 women in America will be the victim of sexual assault


Nearly two years ago, Corey Trivino (along with Vinny Saponari) posted a YouTube video of a rap song filled with misogynist lyrics (and not very well rapped, to boot). The song is called “Party Like A Puckstar.”

The song, and these recently alleged incidents seem, unfortunately, far too consistent with the kind of male-dominated sports culture, and misogynistic-laden male culture that have become synonymous with big-time sports.

It would be nice if it were all nothing more than a game. But it’s far more than that.

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