Boycott Mocked With 'Dead Poets Society' Spoof

December 20, 2016

The University of Minnesota football players' short-lived boycott has been parodied in a short sketch spoofing the film Dead Poets Society. In the video, which was created by University of Minnesota undergraduates, male students climb atop their desks as if they are about to take an inspiring stand on behalf of an important issue, only to proclaim they "don't believe rape victims."

The football players said last week they were protesting the suspension of 10 players on the team and threatened to boycott the Holiday Bowl game. The university did not announce a reason for the suspensions, but they are believed to be related to a sex assault investigation in which police declined to bring charges. After the players announced the end of their boycott this weekend, the university's president said the media misinterpreted the team's intent and that reporters "translated" the players' support for their teammates "into support of sexual violence."

The boycott initially attracted sympathy from many alumni, concerned about issues of due process, but support for the university's stance grew as details emerged about what happened to a female student in incidents involving 10 athletes, in particular after a redacted version of the university's equal opportunity office's report on its investigation was published by KSTP News. Contrary to the team's comments, the 80-page report shows that the football players were interviewed, their assertions were considered and they were not all judged equally responsible for what happened. The report also details why the university found that four of the players engaged in sexual assault and that others engaged in forms harassment, such as videotaping the victim without her consent. The report states that some athletes tried to cover up what happened or violated other parts of the student code of conduct.

The Star Tribune reported Sunday that it was the report's details -- many of them read over the weekend for the first time by football players who organized the boycott and by the family members of football players -- that broke the will of players to continue the boycott.

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