Two Instagram posts made on Friday elicited strong reactions throughout the lacrosse social media community over the weekend.
At 1:30pm, MLL Professional Paul Rabil posted a photo of himself wearing a shirt that said “Women Power” promoting the sale of which benefited the FCancer charity. Within 36 hours, the post had accrued more than 10,000 likes and 450 comments (including many more that were deleted), some of which were disrespectful to the message or to Rabil for the statement he made.
Two examples include, “I respect women...but would never want this shirt” and “I’d rather take a million 100mph Lacrosse shots from you than wear that shirt. Feminism is not for the equality of all genders. It’s to beat down the “white power” and bring women up and hurt men…”
Rabil responded directly to several of the comments, and summarized his overall reaction to IL, saying:"Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time I shared a post showing my stance and support for equality to the negative response of many. Earlier this summer, I posted to Instagram with support for the LGBTQ community, igniting a lot of negative response.
All considered, I don’t view negative commentary as a lacrosse-specific problem. In all industries, the pursuit of social equality and human interests have been an ongoing, global effort that’s faced unfortunate resistance.
Fortunately for us, through the vehicle of lacrosse — and, more broadly, sports — we have the ability and platforms to engage in this conversation, show our support and empathy for others, then take to the path of doing something more than just sharing. People can contribute to non-profits, join online communities and alliances, then continue to do our best to coach the next generation of players with integrity, honesty, openness, and respect for all genders, race, sexual orientation and religion.
Above any championship or accolade, our ability to be kind, respect others, and build meaningful relationships are what’s most important. I encourage anyone reading this to review both posts (Editor's note: Here's the link to Paul Rabil's June 25th Instagram post celebrating Pride Day in NYC), including the comment sections. There are important and healthy responses to much of the negative commentary."
Also on Friday, Parker Underwood, a 2018 face-off specialist from IMG Academy (Fla.) playing with FCA and committed to Marquette, posted an image captioned, "The good guys won today's Catholics vs Convicts game... FCA vs Nations United."
His FCA National team had beaten Nation United 2018 5-4 in the opening game of the 2017 [ChillLaxin]’s Tournament of Champions in Pasco County, Fla. After being liked by nearly 100 Instagram users, including members of the opposing Nation United team, the post was deleted and Underwood replaced with an image captioned, "I am extremely sorry for and meant no disrespect in my earlier Instagram post about Nation United LAX. I made a very poor decision. I absolutely did not mean to offend anybody. My sincerest apologies to anyone I hurt, I will personally ask forgiveness from the team tomorrow."A screenshot was posted by blaxersblog
on Saturday. From there, nearly 100 comments reacted to the image.
One comment, posted by @fcalacrosse, read, “We appreciate [blaxersblog] bringing attention to this. FCA Lacrosse as an organization does not condone this type of behavior by our players, coaches or family members nor is there any room for this within the culture of our program. Diversity is a big part of our culture and we 100% support the mission, vision and values of @nationunitedlax We have a great relationship with @nationunitedlax and have been proactively working with them on how to address this social media post while down in Tampa, FL together at the @ndplacrosse TOC. This inappropriate social media post will hopefully be a learning experience for not only this player, but others in the lacrosse community who see it.”
In reply, @nationunitedlax posted, “While the statements made were extremely inappropriate and a glaring example of why Nation United and like programs need to exist FCA Lacrosse has always been supportive of Nation United, and in line with that that immediately engaged us and took action. We continue to work with them in follow-up on this issue.”
Prior to the post being made public to the lacrosse community by blaxersblog, FCA and the player took steps to appropriately respond to the post. The player was suspended from participating in the rest of the tournament, which was the first event he had been involved in with FCA. Members of the FCA staff spoke directly with the Nation United coaching staff, players and parents at a dinner the day the incident occurred. Underwood personally addressed the Nation United staff and players Saturday morning.
Additionally, college and pro coaches and players weighed in, including Kyle Harrison and Ryan Flanagan.
FCA Lacrosse Executive Director Ryan Horanburg provided IL with an additional statement Sunday morning.As the Director of FCA Lacrosse, I am saddened by the hurt that has been caused by this FCA Lacrosse player to the entire Nation United organization, players, coaches, and family members as well as the lacrosse community in general. FCA Lacrosse as an organization does not condone this type of behavior by our players, coaches, or family members nor is there any room for this within the culture of our program or the lacrosse community in general. As a ministry, our focus is ministering to lacrosse players and coaches in order to help transform lives, families, and the culture of this sport we all love.
At FCA Lacrosse, we believe that the game of lacrosse should be a teaching opportunity for young men and women in all areas of life both ON and OFF the field. We are committed to developing “three-dimensional” athletes and coaches who want to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. Teaching players about cultural awareness and the positive and negative effects of social media needs to be of emphasis within the entire lacrosse community. I firmly believe that this NEGATIVE incident will ultimately lead to POSITIVE. Positive discussions about how the sport of lacrosse can develop young men and women, positive discussions amongst key lacrosse organizations (Inside Lacrosse, US Lacrosse, Nation United, FCA, etc.) and the role they can play in helping to develop, shape and lead this, positive discussions amongst some of the lacrosse icons we have and how they have been able to bring positive awareness to this incident, but have a strong desire to educate the lacrosse community through this.
Because of NCAA rules, Marquette coach Joe Amplo was unable to speak directly about Underwood because he hasn’t signed a National Letter of Intent. However, when reached by phone Saturday night, he was adamant that language used in the post was inappropriate and unacceptable.
He was able to speak generally about prospective student-athletes. “We have high standards for social media in our program. There’s a way to act and not to act, and there’s a way to act appropriately. I hold accountable kids not just on the action, but also the reaction. I’m confident the kids we choose to recruit have handled things the right way prior to and after any negative event in which they’ve acted inappropriately. They will have the opportunity to show remorse, take responsibility and be held accountable moving forward."
Last week, IL reposted an editorial from the June issue of Inside Lacrosse Magazine which featured Nation United co-founder Isaiah Dawson on the cover and addressed the need for (and value of) an organization like Nation United
addressed the need for (and value of) an organization like Nation United. That tipped off a summer of coverage around the club that highlighted one of the year's unique stories. Learn more about Nation United here:
* Building Nation United
* Dawson's Heroics Lead Nation United To ILRI 2018 Championship
* Another Dramatic OT Win For Nation United, Earning 2019 ILRI Title
* Nation United Podcast: Woodson, Kemp, Ardrey, Stallworth, Dawson
* Recruiting Evaluations: Looking Deeper At Nation United's Eye Popping Talent
Contributed by IL