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Coaches at U. Oklahoma Claim They Can Discipline Players for Their Politics

Coaches at U. Oklahoma Claim They Can Discipline Players for Their Politics

“she had been excluded from the team […] over her politically conservative views.”

The students involved here should get in touch with FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Those folks take a strong interest in situations like this one.

The College Fix reports:

U. Oklahoma coaches claim they can discipline players for their politics

Two women’s volleyball coaches at the University of Oklahoma argue in a legal motion that they have the right to discipline players for their political beliefs.

Player Kylee McLaughlin sued coaches Lindsey and Kyle Walton along with the OU Board of Regents earlier this year, alleging “she had been excluded from the team […] over her politically conservative views.”

The OU Daily reported that McLaughlin, the OU team captain and first team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and 2019, had made comments that “at least one” of her teammates considered “racist” following a team viewing of the Netflix documentary “13th.”

McLaughlin was told to attend a follow-up discussion on the issue — mass incarceration of black Americans — which she did.

Later, after McLaughlin had tweeted out her disagreement (a skull and crossbones and laughing clown emojis) at the University of Texas’s possible dropping of its school song “The Eyes of Texas,” Lindsey Walton “urg[ed] her to delete [the] tweet.” In a subsequent hour-long phone conversation, she told McLaughlin “I can’t save you when you get into the real world when you leave here.”

Kyle Walton allegedly told McLaughlin “[I’m] not sure I can coach you anymore.” McLaughlin did end up apologizing to U. Texas’s volleyball players and head coach for her tweet…

According to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, in their motion to dismiss the Waltons argue that even though they were the ones who injected politics into the team, they have the right to discipline those with differing views — in the name of “team unity.”

“While Plaintiff was free to make bigoted statements, she was not free from the consequences of how her teammates perceived those statements,” the Waltons’ motion states. “The First Amendment cannot force her teammates to trust Plaintiff or desire to play with her. Consequently, the Complaint makes clear that Coach Walton was within her rights to cultivate a winning ‘team atmosphere by ensuring the players that ‘trust’ each other would be on the court.”


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Obviously this is why you keep politics out in the first place. The coaches created the problem. Can they then visit the consequences on a player? It seems that happens all the time. Coaches make decisions that affect all the players.

I don’t know the legal basis this player would have against them, but I hope it’s something. At any rate this should go viral on campus so that conservative students can ditch the women’s volleyball team!

The Friendly Grizzly | August 9, 2021 at 4:06 pm

If U of O is a state school, doesn’t the 1st Amendment apply?

The masks are off, they don’t even bother to hide it anymore.

“The First Amendment cannot force her teammates to trust Plaintiff or desire to play with her.”

They’d find a way to make it happen if she were black and the rest of the team were white.

ahad haamoratsim | August 10, 2021 at 5:32 am

Isn’t the $64K question whether the comments “perceived as racist” were in fact racist? There’s a huge difference between a comment justifying incarceration for a crime that would result in a similar sentence for a defendant of another race, or that points out that young men raised by single mothers are more likely to commit crimes, and comments positing e.g. racial inferiority.

We are running into the “Overton window” problem — how do you define the spectrum of socially acceptable thought. Certainly, shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre is unacceptable, and at one time “Our volleyball coach is a Communist fellow traveler” was unacceptable. “I am opposed to a crazy scheme where all white citizens are forced to give money to all black citizens based upon just race” used to be acceptable (through at least the Obama Administration), but suddenly during the Trump Administration, it is offensive and beyond the pale.

During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, it used to be both unacceptable and illegal to advance the idea that college social fraternities should discriminate in membership based upon race. Now that is considered normal and acceptable because “black students need safe spaces.” As a corollary, it is acceptable to have black-only and white-only volleyball teams in the intramural college volleyball league, but the varsity team must be both integrated and politically correct, in the name of “campus unity” and “team cohesion.” It is also socially acceptable to offer racially segregated physical education classes on Rock Wall Climbing.

    artichoke in reply to lawgrad. | August 10, 2021 at 2:06 pm

    Is it acceptable to have a white-only team for intramural volleyball? I thought only the black-only team would be acceptable. Not theoretically but in practice.

Antifundamentalist | August 10, 2021 at 2:07 pm

The coach brings up a topic that has nothing to do with coaching the team, invites discussion, then punishes anyone who does not publicly agree with the coach’s take on the subject. You don’t really have the option of non-participation, either, because part of the standard opinion is that “silence is violence.” It’s seems a lot like coercion of speech – you HAVE to say what is expected, and only what is expected. Kind of like being in Germany and refusing to return the Nazi salute.