Marquette Incident a Reminder of The Work Still Needed to Be Done to Weed Out Racism in Lacrosse

(Photo Courtesy of Marquette Athletics)

On Tuesday morning, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that a Marquette men’s lacrosse player had been dismissed after posting a Snapchat video emerged on Monday night of that player and another individual who is not associated with Marquette lacrosse using the N-Word in addition to multiple slurs against Arabs.

The former player has been identified as redshirt freshman Defenseman/LSM Jack Cleary. A native of Bronxville, N.Y. and product of Iona Prep (N.Y.), Cleary was initially reportedly to be on a full athletic scholarship at Marquette but it was later revealed that he was a walk on. He has been removed for their roster online.

Marquette has two Black players on their team for the 2021 season. They are set to open the season on Saturday at home against Denver.

The incident reported on Tuesday is the second in the span of eight months involving a Marquette athlete in the men’s or women’s lacrosse program. Back in June, a women’s lacrosse signee, Leah Zenk, was let go from her NLI and had her admission revoked following a social media post mocking George Floyd, who’s death at the hands of police last summer sparked nation-wide protest.

Additionally, it was the second incident of its kind of the men’s side of college lacrosse, in general, in the past year. Last March, Amherst men’s lacrosse head coach Jon Thompson was fired and the program put on probation following multiple lacrosse players using the N-word. It was the second discriminatory act involving men’s lacrosse players at Amherst that school year. Thompson is now the offensive coordinator at Air Force.

Both post in question from the two Marquette incidents can be seen in this Instagram post, which was originally posted by a Marquette student but a later deleted from that account.

While the sport has changed drastically over the years and saw a drastic push for change over the summer amidst the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the world-wide protests and outcry for further equality and justice that followed, incidents like what was reported on Tuesday morning show us how far this game still has to go.

Jack Cleary’s actions do not define the sport, what it’s about, or the good people who are members of its community. But they are a stark reminder that we must do better to weed out racism in the game at every level and work to make sure this game is one where everyone can feel safe, accepted, and flourish, no matter their race, religion, or background. We must continue to work together to accomplish that goal and truly grow the game in the correct manner.

At the time of writing this, neither the school, athletic department, or anyone associated with the men’s lacrosse team has made any public comment or statement about the incident. However, Marquette Head Coach Andrew Stimmel did release a statement over the summer in which he vowed fight racism and “build men for others who have compassion and character.” This season is his second at Marquette.

Update: Andrew Stimmel released a statement via social media on Wednesday night.

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