Harvard footballers apologise for lewd comments about women's team
The Harvard men's football team has apologised for sexual comments made about members of the women's side which led the Ivy League university to suspend the men for the rest of the season.
In an apology posted on the website of The Harvard Crimson student newspaper, team members admitted their behaviour was inexcusable and said no woman deserves to be treated in such a manner.
The newspaper had uncovered a 2012 document which rated the attractiveness of women's team recruits and included lewd comments about them.
The men's team called the document its "scouting report", and circulated it online.
A university investigation into the 2012 men's team found the comments were not isolated and continued through to the current season. The team, which was in first place in the Ivy League, was suspended on Thursday and will forfeit all remaining games.
"We sincerely apologise for the harm our words and actions have caused women everywhere, and especially our close friends on the women's soccer team," the apology said.
"We are deeply ashamed that it took a public revelation, a loss of trust and damaged friendships for us to fully grasp the gravity of our conduct, for which each member of our team takes full and equal responsibility," it said.
"No woman deserves to be treated in this manner; not our mothers, our sisters, nor our peers. We apologise to them, and to all those who trusted us, supported us and believed in us."
Harvard president Drew Faust, men's soccer coach Pieter Lehrer and women's soccer coach Chris Hamblin called the men's actions unacceptable, disrespectful and shocking.
Players on the men's team said they will do anything possible to heal the pain they have caused.
"To do so, we must first confront the issues of sexism and misogyny within our own locker room, so that we can take up the call issued by the women of the Harvard Women's Soccer Class of 2016 to join them in combating this sort of behaviour," the apology continued.
"Starting with ourselves, all players on this team now commit our efforts to spur a cultural change that goes beyond the scope of our own team."