Columbia football appears to be way worse than we all thought it was.
Students at Columbia long ago came to understand that the school's football team would not win. The Lions lost 44 straight games in the 1980s. In their last seven seasons, they have gone 15-45, with a 10-32 record in the Ivy League. That is awful.
The team's losing tendencies, though, had an oddly reassuring effect: Columbia appeared as though it had buried itself too deep in its books to fret about football. Football seemed to be, rather amazingly, not cool enough for school. The Lions had presumably surrendered the Ivy League arms race to Harvard and Penn to focus on The Republic.
Events late Tuesday, though, began to pop this happy delusion. NBC broke the news that New York police had charged sophomore defensive end Chad Washington with aggravated harassment as a hate crime. According to police, Washington and a group of friends taunted an Asian student with racial slurs before Washington pinned the victim against a wall.
The charges against Washington didn't sting the team as much as did a gaggle of player tweets unearthed on Wednesday by WKCR, the campus radio station. (Those charged with crimes are innocent until proven guilty, after all, and one allegedly wayward football player does not necessarily condemn the whole team.) Lots of team members tweeted lots of stupid, bigoted things, on accounts that have since been deleted or made private. Many of these accounts, naturally, were followed by the official team account, which has been silent since Tuesday.
You can read WKCR's whole Twitter collection here, if you're so inclined, but we'll pass along a few representative hits. An offensive lineman retweeted an article about New York's growing Jewish population with the hashtag "fuckkkkkk." A running back tweeted, "You show me a nigga that takes a bath and I'll show you a faggot." The former quarterback and team captain replied to another with "shut up fagasaurus rex." And Washington himself tweeted, "When Asian ppl fall alseep in class the teachers can't tell! Lol." Lol indeed. The lesson here, as always: People, even—or especially?—bad Ivy League football players, can be terrible and dumb.
Image from Getty c. 1950, which was the last time a national photography service bothered to send anyone to a Columbia football game.