The athletics director at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax says he's meeting with 10 football player suspended from the team for tweeting hateful and sexist remarks later today to discuss further discipline.
“I was appalled, I’m discouraged, I’m disappointed,” said David Murphy, 71.
One player tweeted, “That bitch bit me last night. Hope your dead in a ditch, you are scum.” Other posts included slurs about women and gay men.
Saint Mary's University is the same university that was the subject of international scrutiny in the fall after a video emerged of a frosh week chant encouraging underage sex without consent.
Murphy said he's meeting with the students involved at 1 p.m. AT. The athletes have not been suspended from the university, but SMU said they could face further disciplineunder the school’s code of conduct.
Murphy said he will look at each tweet and make decisions on suspensions.
“If you bring disrepute to the university, then you are automatically suspended,” said Murphy. “We’re taking a black eye. This is not something we want to promote.”
'They're good kids'
He said five of the players involved are 18-year-old freshmen who, he thinks, haven’t had enough time to immerse themselves in the team culture.
"They're not malicious people. They’re good kids. They made a mistake,” he said.
Murphy said he feels guilty no one in his athletics department was monitoring the student athlete’s tweets. They were first exposed by journalism students studying at the University of King's College.
“I’m falling behind in my due diligence and my ability to teach these kids,” he said. “Maybe that’s a breakdown in the communication. You have an older person who is not savvy to all that.
"I feel very badly that I let the university down."
Murphy said the athletes were spoken to after the pro-rape chant, but no one monitored their online behaviour.
“We really buckled down with the student athletes, I did, and we really put out that you have to be very, very careful with social media, don’t be doing this,” he said.
In the fallout of the pro-rape chant, the university endorsed a report from an independent council that contains 20 recommendations on cultural changes to "prevent sexual violence and inspire respectful behaviour and a safe learning environment at Saint Mary’s."