Yesterday, the Vancouver Whitecaps, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team, shared three photos of first-year players Jackson Farmer and Mitch Piraux on social media. These photos depicted the 19-year old, team residency program graduates with embarrassing haircuts and featured the caption “Be glad you’re not a rookie. #rookiehaircuts #vwfc”. Major League Soccer, an organization that has had to deal with hazing allegations previously, then shared the photo on Twitter, implying that they support such behavior within their clubs.
As we’ve discussed previously, it’s not uncommon for professional sports leagues, their clubs, and the media covering them to turn a blind eye and/or promote hazing behaviors. What is encouraging in this instance, however, is that many Vancouver Whitecaps fans and MLS fans spoke out against hazing and that the vast majority of social media replies were anti-hazing, as illustrated by the responses below:
— Eric Howell (@Eric_Howell) February 19, 2015
@WhitecapsFC ah, the old haze, just like high school soccer! Pretty shameful tbh. You're better than to stoop that low.
— Max Lynch (@maxlynch) February 19, 2015
@WhitecapsFC that's a pretty poor example you're setting there. Hazing the new guys and then bragging on social media? Yikes.
— Becca (@becca4kicks) February 19, 2015
— Amy Jamroz (@DontCMe) February 19, 2015
— PYSA (@PYSASoccer) February 19, 2015
— Jadon Klopson (@jklopson) February 19, 2015
— Pete Pereira (@SetPieces) February 20, 2015
We wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support the efforts of these fans and others who spoke up and let the Vancouver Whitecaps and the MLS know that players should not have to engage in demeaning, embarrassing, or dangerous behaviors in order to be a part of any organization, professional sports or otherwise.