Controversy is swirling around the Saint Anselm College football players who said they just want to “toss around the pigskin” in peace. Unfortunately, the College has continued to prevent them from playing their sport on campus. It all goes back to a passage taken from Leviticus in the Old Testament: “And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.” -Lev. 11:7-8. Touching a pig’s skin violates the College’s Catholicism.
In an attempt to bring awareness to their struggle, some football players on campus decided to purchase miniature footballs and place them around campus in various locations. It is unclear whether physical plant removed the footballs, or if a student, in an effort to fulfill a crusade for morality on campus, was so offended by the footballs that they confiscated all of them.
While some were upset by the removal, others rose to its support. One student published a letter to the editor in the Saint Anselm Crier explaining their support for the removal. The author referred to playing football (and touching the pigskin) as a “form of athletic promiscuity contrary to the virtues of the Catholic Church.” They went on to decry what they referred to as the “ideology” of playing football. After saying that all human beings should be treated equally, the author continued, “However, to treat people with equal dignity does not require agreeing with their lifestyle or ideology or endorsing it in any fashion.”
The college administration was quick to weigh in on the matter, releasing an official statement: “We strive to treat every student on this campus with respect, compassion, and sensitivity, but any expression of a lifestyle that does not fit to the expectations of the Catholic Church cannot be condoned.” The school insisted it would not allow players to participate in football on campus but said, “We would be willing to let them struggle for 2-3 years to create some sort of club and then significantly limit their opportunities to practice or have programming that relates to football. It’s just out of respect for the Church’s teachings.”
A college employee was quick to address the controversy with students. “I’m not anti-athlete. I know plenty of football players, but the reality is there is a Tradition – with a capital T – that must be respected. The Church is an institution, you can’t expect it to change overnight.”
The president of a prominent club on campus was even asked to step down last week after it was revealed that he had dared to touch a football in public. When asked why he did it, the student reported receiving hateful text messages from a fellow club member, one of which read: “You’re literally causing massive public scandal to the club and the Church.”