Updated: Sep 2
Hats off to the Syracuse Orange Men’s Lacrosse Team. There has been a large “believe women” movement for quite some time, and very rarely, if ever, have we seen a team actually take a stance regardless of if they have any stake in the controversy. But like all else, there’s a first time for everything and certainly I hope this becomes far more widespread, throughout colleges, professional sports, and everywhere else.
Elite Syracuse lacrosse player, Chase Scanlan, was arrested and booked on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge back on May 7th stemming from an incident taking place back on April 17th at a South Campus apartment. The Onondaga County District Attorney said that Scanlan is accused of engaging in a physical altercation with a woman and destroying her phone. As destroying a phone is a fourth-degree criminal mischief charge, Scanlan was essentially permitted to be released without bail because criminal mischief is not a crime that bail could be set for. Furthermore, based on the nature of the offense, destroying a phone, Scanlan could not be charged with assault under state law. In New York, assault requires proof of injury stemming from the altercation.
While New York’s laws on the matter are a tad “skimpy,” the team took matters into its own hands to punish Scanlan for these deplorable actions. Under New York Law, a person is guilty of assault in the third degree when 1) with intent to cause physical harm, the actor causes such injury to another or third party; 2) the actor recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or 3) with criminal negligence, the actor causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or otherwise a dangerous instrument.
Two days after the incident took place, Scanlan was suspended indefinitely from the team. While Coach Desko, head coach of the Orange, has since reinstated Scanlan, the Orange’s captains gave an ultimatum that players would walk out on April 27th if Scanlan returned and practiced with the team following his reinstatement. To that end, Scanlan spent time practicing, but not with the team. Since being reinstated, Scanlan has not played in any games for the Orange, nor has he appeared on any game logs. While Scanlan maintains that it was “nothing that became something,” credit must be given to the team. No matter what, violence towards women, in any capacity, is absolutely unacceptable, and for the captains to hold firm in their position is commendable.
As ally ship is becoming more important than ever, this is a perfect example of zero tolerance for abuse and using one’s position to hold friends, teammates, and members of the community accountable. This action has garnered attention from Vera House, a Syracuse-based shelter for survivors of domestic violence. Vera House has commended the captains for taking a clear and definitive stand against domestic violence. Scanlan’s last game he played was April 17th against the Tar Heels, though their season ended May 15th. To that end, Scanlan’s high school coach suggested that Scanlan explore his options and transfer. One can certainly hope that regardless of if Scanlan stays with the Orange, he has learned the lesson that violence towards women will not be tolerated whatsoever, and to the team… hats off to you! That’s how you stand up for those with a quieter voice; that’s being a *true* team player. Certainly, I hope to see this trend continue in any and every team, league, and sport regardless of level.