Steubenville Supports  Coach Reno If you are a Steubenville resident and your town was just embroiled in a nationwide scandal involving underage drinking, social media, football players, and a 16-year-old rape victim do you:

A: Demand rape awareness and underage drinking awareness programs in your high schools and teach your kids about what to do if they see one of their peers in trouble?

B: Worry about your own kids, friends and family members, considering 1 in 5 women have a chance of being raped in their lifetime, and make a donation to the Madden House In Wheeling?

C: Organize a rally to support Coach Reno Saccoccia who is being accused of knowing about the rape and failing to report it to local authorities in a timely manner?

If you answered “C” then you are probably one of these local residents who don’t believe Coach Reno did anything wrong and would like to support him as he faces a possible grand jury investigation in mid-April. A rally to support Reno is scheduled for Saturday, March 30th at 4:00 at the Harding Field House in Steubenville.

I know football is extremely important in Steubenville. I get it. I know Coach Reno is said to be an excellent football coach, and his record for winning games is impressive. I’m sure in the 30 years that he has been the coach he has mentored and helped many young people throughout his career, and this is a great thing. No one is disputing that Coach Reno is a very good football coach, but due to the fact he may have known (And if we are going on the text messages presented in court, that he DID know) that some of his star players had raped a girl and he kept them on the team for eight more games, I can’t quite wrap my mind around the idea of celebrating this man who is facing some extremely serious allegations. Or as one of my friends so eloquently asked on Twitter:

That’s atrocious. So if your kid was raped and an adult knew and didn’t report it to police, you’d throw him party?

As I have said about 100 gazillion times at this point, there are residents of Steubenville who are appalled at the Big Red Football rape and who absolutely adore football and attending games with their families, but who support the 16-year-old rape victim fully and refuse to have anything to do with the team until after the grand jury investigation. There is a Change.org petition asking that Coach Reno be immediately terminated which has over 40,000 signatures. There is a Change.org petition supporting Coach Reno that has over 100 signatures. 

I think it’s sort of obvious that the majority of people who have followed this case might be of the opinion that Coach Reno is not the best role model for young men.

Big Red Football could serve as a leader in speaking out against and preventing violence against women and girls. How amazingly cool would it be if the team and their coach, whether it is Reno or a new coach, partnered with Futures Without Violence and implemented their “Coaching Boys Into Men” program, which teaches coaches and players how to be role-models and stand against violence towards women?

Whether you’re a coach, a school administrator, a parent, a violence prevention activist, or a community leader, YOU have a role in Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM). By coaching boys into men, you are helping the next generation build respectful and non-violent relationships.

The program has tools and resources for teaching coaches and their players how they can  stop violence against women, rape, how they can have respectful relationships and do their part in curbing rape culture. The eyes of the world are on Steubenville, and it saddens me that instead of taking this opportunity to show the world that they are against violence towards women, they instead use it to support their beloved coach who may have committed a very serious crime. There is a huge opportunity for hope and change and healing in Steubenville, but instead they keep supporting and canonizing the rape culture that caused this crime to begin with. For me as a mom, I have a hard time understanding this logic.

(Photo: Change.org)