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'Beats By Ray' and other offensive intramural sports team names banned at University of Calgary

University of Calgary officials are banning intramural sports team names deemed offensive, sexist or that refer to the use of drugs and alcohol after concerns were raised by students, who say some of the monikers perpetuate rape culture on campus.

Lexi Narowski, a Faculty of Arts student representative, said a number of female learners brought forward concerns about a specific derogatory flag football team name concerning a woman's sexual promiscuity, that Metro has decided not to print.

Upon further investigation, she found other alarming examples in that single league of five teams, including "Beats By Ray," seemingly a nod to the former National Football League star who was seen on camera earlier this year knocking out his fiancee, "Let Me See Your TDs," and one other that, again, is being withheld.

"I just feel like jokes about domestic violence, domestic abuse are no laughing matter and shouldn't be allowed in a university environment," Narowski said. "By having this policy change . . . creates a more inclusive environment for all students to be apart of. I feel like what it's all about — students are there to have fun and play the sports."

There were others concerning drug use that raised the eyebrows of campus recreation officials, including an indoor soccer team called "Blaze it Like Beckham" and another called "Grassburners."

Don McSwiney, kinesiology department spokesperson, said Thursday that team names deemed offensive will be barred come the winter semester and there will be a formal complaint process for students offended by those that "slip through the cracks." He chalked up the names to an "oversight," and one that had never been pointed out by students previously.

"It might be creating a culture that we don't want to have associated with our activities, so we just thought we'd take the step right now and create some guidelines for names," McSwiney said.

U of C students were far from alone in choosing suggestive names for their teams. A quick survey of Mount Royal University intramural squads this fall turned up a dozen referencing genitalia or sexual promiscuity – examples included "Easy Lay" and "Balls In Your Face."

But Chris Dawe, the university's director of recreation, said there's formal screening process for team names in place.

"I haven't looked, specifically, at any of those team names for our group here, but our staff certainly have," he said. "In their judgment, we felt like all of those have been looked at and are appropriate. I think part of the judgement is does someone find it offensive? Does it offend someone particularly? And if we get that kind of feedback, we will absolutely investigate."

Roughly 3,000 students participate in Mount Royal intramurals annually and twice as many partake in activities run at the U of C.

A representative with the Calgary Sport & Social Club, the city's largest co-ed recreation league provider, said it also screens team names and blocks those that are inappropriate, derogatory or that include swear words, racial slurs or blatant sexual references.

Michelle Harrison, the group's senior marketing and special-events manager, said there is also a complaint process in place, but few concerns are fielded.

A sample of suggestive intramural team names

University of Calgary

  • Ball hockey - Soft Dump in the Corner
  • Basketball - Chocolate Thunder
  • Flag football - Beats By Ray
  • Flag football - Let Me See Your TDs
  • Bubble soccer - Ball Touchers
  • Indoor soccer - Blaze It Like Beckham
  • Outdoor soccer - 2 Goals 1 Cup
  • Outdooor soccer - Grassburners
  • Volleyball - Just The Tip
  • Volleyball - Muffin Stuffers

Mount Royal University

  • Basketball - Easy Lay
  • Basketball - MHoa's Sweatshop Escapees
  • Futsal - Poke My Balls
  • Volleyball - Balls In Your Face

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