The Great Awakening: How “Woke” is the LSU Fan Base?
By Chris Warner
Awakenings are an arousing from sleep, indifference and inactivity where action is compelled. Being woke (U.S. slang), according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the awareness of and being actively attentive to important facts and issues related to race and social justice. These two similar, but different current American concepts collide like crashing helmets with respect to winning football games and Title IX compliance, revealing a stark contradiction of efforts and outcomes that irrevocably paints the Ole War Skule as self-serving, archaic and reactionary in its legally-mandated on-campus protection of student-athletes. With a multi-million dollar federal lawsuit by seven alleged female student victims now filed, LSU must prove it is as woke as it claims to be: that it is as concerned with protecting the rights of its student-athletes as it is openly backing Black Lives Matter and annually making the coveted college football playoff. LSU moving forward must demonstrate its true concern for social justice with respect to recent lawsuit(s), revealing just how consistently “woke” it truly is. Meanwhile, how woke the LSU fan base actually is will determine the financial success of the department going forward from the scandal, as the paying consumer will decide whether or not it agrees or disagrees with the overall product, and the dubious direction taken by the leadership of the department to untangle the embarrassing, debilitating imbroglio while parading the pervasive cultural leftist dogma that is the anathema of the average LSU fan.
Being an LSU Fan Lately is Difficult
Living in the Florida Panhandle is difficult for LSU fans. Here at the beach I interact regularly with a number of SEC alumni, and lately it has been tough being a Tiger. After a record 2019 season that saw LSU win 15 games, 2020 was humbling. Going 5-5 after a perfect season gets you teased relentlessly by your adversaries, and rightfully so—LSU should have gone no less than 7-3 a year ago, pandemic notwithstanding. Now, adding insult to injury in an otherwise rebuilding year, the athletic department is embroiled in multiple lawsuits related to improperly handling sexual complaints from female students involving football players. The university is accused of not following protocols in order to subvert the process, so it could avoid responsibility and reprisal and win football games. As an LSU fan and alumnus, these accusations are indefensible, as they have more important repercussions beyond the playing fields and bragging rights.
LSU’s former respected football coach, Les Miles, was thrown under the bus by the law firm hired by LSU to investigate its aforementioned transgressions, making it somehow appear that the current mess was Miles’ fault, even though it is documented that much of it happened after Miles was let go and replaced. Days later, after the bombshell revelation, Miles was fired by the University of Kansas as its head football coach, leaving many fans in the know wondering how LSU’s current coach will keep his job as the sordid story of alleged rule violations and cover-ups under his watch continues to be told, leading to adjudication. One would think that LSU, given it is also being sued by one of its employees, Sharon Lewis ($50 million) in addition to seven former students ($5 million), all females, would settle out of court to protect the implicated individuals and the department’s integrity. A trial would open up discovery rounds; witness lists would be formed, eventually spawning related testimony explaining what happened, and more specifically, who ordered it to happen.
A Trial by Media
Those watching the slow and deliberate prying open of LSU’s Pandora’s Box by investigators understand that news outlets like USA Today are bent on social justice delivered at all costs, and that institutions like LSU, in today’s hyper-sensitive news world, are needed scapegoats in the grand plan to affect change and movement efficacy. Make no mistake about it—LSU is now firmly in the media crosshairs, an unenviable and almost untenable position moving forward, as the truth trickles out and more of the stinging narrative is divulged. This is the unforgiving truth of a high profile negative situation, such as this. There will be no letting up.
Geaux Woke Geaux Broke
Coca-Cola Corporation recently broke with the scurrying pack and went woke—seamlessly unifying its universal brand with intractable liberal ideologies. Many wondered why Coke, a company with a history as iconic as its curvaceous, hourglass bottle, would want to align itself with questionable entities like Black Lives Matter that many Americans find both unlawful and reprehensible, for their hate-filled, anti-law enforcement rhetoric. However, when one realizes that Coca-Cola has seen its soda market share dwindle annually over the last health-conscious decade, one begins to see the desperation in their seemingly compassionate ways. The question remains for LSU: Why go woke after winning the national championship, when your merchandising market share and visibility are at an all-time high?
Justice for the Victims and a New, Awakened LSU Moving Forward
An astute observer can see that the powers that be at LSU are trying to perpetuate a system that has allowed them to circumvent the prescribed, formal guidelines and play by their own favorable set of rules. This win-at-all-costs mentality is no different from the mindset that encourages the practice of using beautiful young women as recruiting bait, the paying of players to garner their coveted commitments and the fixing of grades thereafter to ensure eligibility and winning games. While LSU won a national championship in 2019, in doing so it failed to protect its female student-athletes from sexual predators; and the latter supersedes the former, in terms of importance for this father of two college-aged girls. LSU should immediately settle with the victims and terminate everyone employed by the athletic department involved directly with not reporting and then covering up the alleged abuse. Going forward, LSU must take these matters seriously. If not, the department will never win back the legions of Tiger fans turned off by LSU’s divisive, disjointed politics and mismanagement.
Chris Warner is a double graduate of LSU and of the University of New Orleans. He is a regular speaker and the author of over 20 books, including, “Inside the Eye of the Tiger,” a tell-all book about the LSU Athletic Department, (1981-2003) written with former Hall of Fame LSU Tennis Coach Jerry Simmons. Find out more about Chris at his web page: Chriswarnerauthor.com
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