By Leeann Passaro, Editor in Chief
Last month, Syracuse University and its lacrosse team took headlines, but not in the positive light that the #6 ranked Orange are used to. On the night of April 17, Chase Scanlan, the team’s top scorer at the time, had been involved in a domestic violence incident. Records show that the university’s department of public safety was called to an apartment at 11:34 p.m. that night.
Scanlan was suspended from the team two days after the incident. Sarah Scalese, a spokeswoman for the university, said in a statement then that the suspension was for “violating team rules and expectations.”
However, Scanlan was reinstated on April 26 by head coach John Desko, though his team soon spoke out. Led by the team captains, players reportedly planned to walk out of practice if Scanlan returned. Instead, the coaching staff arranged to allow Scanlan to practice separately from the team.
Stories continued to unravel with details of the abuse that occurred. The victim, who had dated Scanlan on and off, has come forth with her testimony. The victim said alcohol was consumed by both her and Scanlan on the night of the incident, and Scanlan was intoxicated. That night, Scanlan broke her phone and injured her ribs by wrapping her up in his legs. A photo obtained also shows a damaged wall confirmed from the incident.
Scanlan was arrested on Friday, May 7th and charged with criminal mischief and harassment charges. Only now is Scanlan suspended indefinitely from the team.
Despite the failures of the coaching staff, the men of the Syracuse lacrosse team showed incredible integrity by taking a stand against their teammate and against domestic violence.
The team made their sentiments known early on in the investigation, immediately refusing to practice with him when he was originally reinstated to the team. As the weeks continued, certain players continued to show their stance. Several Syracuse players wore athletic tape on their helmets inscribed with the word “1OVE” or showed similar displays in support of the One Love Foundation, which educates young people about abusive relationships.
Dozens of Syracuse players, as well as the larger lacrosse community, have posted a statement on Instagram promising to raise awareness in the fight against domestic violence and shared a link to donate to the One Love Foundation.
The One Love Foundation was created in honor of Yeardley Love, a former University of Virginia women’s lacrosse player who tragically lost her life in 2010 to a domestic violence incident with her ex-boyfriend, also a member of the UVA men’s lacrosse team. While domestic violence always hurts our communities, the recent incident at Syracuse hits close to home with the parallels to Yeardley’s story.
On April 30, One Love posted a statement on Instagram that called the Syracuse players’ actions “exactly what this world needs.”
“One Love stands with members of the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team who are protesting reinstatement of their teammate following allegations of abuse and violence,” it read. “Their courage and willingness to stand for what’s right are inspiring and exactly what this world needs. Their actions give us hope that when people know the signs of an unhealthy relationship they will stand up, step in, and help ensure a dangerous situation doesn’t become a tragedy.”
The Hidden Opponent stands with the One Love Foundation in giving our celebration and thanks to the men of the Syracuse lacrosse team. We believe and we support survivors. Thank you for setting the standard for how a team can create a better, safer community for all.