Please allow me to apologize for my inflammatory column on Tuesday (“Either go big, Bulldogs, or just go home”). I made exaggerations, generalizations and used stereotypes that were grossly inaccurate. It was wrong to employ them, and I apologize if they were interpreted as personal attacks. They were not meant to be. In no way do I want to belittle the achievements of our student-athletes, some of whom are All-Americans, some of whom are Olympians and all of whom work hard everyday, balancing schoolwork with practices. To make generalizations like “we can’t recruit anyone with any real talent” or that our sports teams are “mediocre” was foolish and inaccurate.
Also, to say student-athletes are not successful academically merely because they are recruited is simply a lie. Our athletes can be just as successful academically and professionally as non-athletes — in some cases more successful. I have friends who are athletes, whom I admire both as scholars and as human beings. I hope I can work to earn back their respect.
If I’ve learned one thing from the barrage of both hate mail and support letters that I’ve received or seen over the past two days, it’s that there definitely is, to some extent, a divide between athletes and non-athletes. My article has unfortunately served to exacerbate this tension with its tactless stereotyping of student-athletes, and I hope I have clarified above that I do not harbor these stereotypes. I’ve received e-mails that have ranged from a vitriolic outlash at a “normie” such as myself to an “I completely agree with you.” A gap widened by mutual disdain and prejudice certainly exists, and it is fueled by negative stereotypes. Something needs to be done about it.
Now, in my editorial, I concluded that, since narrowing the scope of our athletics or “going home” is not an option, this gap is intractable. Perhaps I made this hasty conclusion so that I could make the devil’s advocate argument that we should “go big” and expand our sports programs — incidentally, this plan is probably equally unviable. In reality, the sorts of prejudices that I expressed in my article are at the heart of the divide. Rather than give up on the rift, as I did, we should actively work to heal it. We should constantly work to overcome our prejudices and accept each other into our social circles, for each of us has something unique, interesting and wonderful to offer. That’s why we’re here. We’re all Yalies. Let’s make Yale the accepting place we all know it can be.
Ned Fulmer is a junior in Pierson College.