The message given to the Oklahoma football team was powerful Monday afternoon. It had nothing to do with Bob Stoops or former players or even football.
Stoops invited a sexual assault survivor to speak to the team, and Brenda Tracy’s message left a lasting impression.
Tracy was raped by two Oregon State football players back in 1998. With all that has happened with sexual assault cases across the nation on college campuses, she has become a major voice in raising awareness and bringing about change.
Tracy has been speaking at multiple college campuses this summer, and OU coach Bob Stoops made sure she could find the time to be in Norman.
Here is a collection of some of the things said by OU players and coaches regarding Tracy and her speech.
“I praise her. That took so much courage to go up and tell us that story. We could tell in her eyes how much it’s affecting her life. I know it touched every single one of those guys in there. It’s sad to hear that stuff. We know it happens. I’m glad she talked to us because it’s going to bring even more awareness. We’ve had problems on campuses within and without, stuff like that. We see things.
“I’ve got two sisters, you know what I’m talking about? That can’t happen. As a team and as an individual, we see stuff like that and we all want to make a change. We all want to make sure that stuff does not happen on our campus.”
“Honestly I had never heard of her or her story. There were rumors she was going to come talk to us about that, but I didn’t realize it was going to be like that.
“The reason why it was so important is it’s a true story. And that stuff is just gross. We saw emotional she was, and it made us emotional."
“I can’t even lie to you, I was mad. It hurt me to hear a story like that. It’s sickening. None of us on this team are like that, but it’s disappointing to hear that’s still going on around the country. I know it’s something that’s been going on a long time, but to me a woman should be treated right and with respect. To me that was just sickening. Her story talked to all of us, where if anything was to happen to that caliber, we would all pitch in and help. And say, ‘No, that’s wrong.’ We would always have an action to it. That right there is not tolerated on our campus.
“Whenever you hear somebody who has been victimized by that crime, it hurts you to the soul. It gets deep down in your soul and makes you want to react to it. You always hear it in power points and speeches and stuff like that, but to me it speaks more powerfully when a woman can come talk to us, the whole football team.”
“I gave her a hug and said, ‘Thank you for coming and telling us your story.’ That’s really it. After she says something like that, it’s a sensitive subject. So it’s kind of one of those things where you want to just get your point across and say thank you for sharing your story with us, to make us better men. To me everybody deserves to hear that story, honestly. Some people, they say that they’re positive and they would always stop something like that, but not everybody will go and stop that. I feel like all of my teammates would go and stop that, that issue.”
“We had meetings scheduled and she went about an hour. My guys were looking at me like, ‘Are we going to meetings?’ I said, ‘Listen, this is way more important than meetings. We’re going to sit tight, we’re going to listen and we’re going to pay attention. And we’re going to get the message out.’ That was way more important than anything football-related could ever be. Bigger than the game, bigger than the coaches, bigger than the university. You’re talking about affecting someone’s life for the rest of their life.
“I said, ‘Listen, from that message men, here’s what you guys gotta think about. I know you’re young and you’re having fun and all those things. But one day you’re gonna have kids. And you may have a daughter. Think about if that’s your daughter and if she was involved in an incident like that, how you would react as a father. It’s no different now. You’ve gotta think that way. If you’re in that situation, think about it as if that’s your daughter. Or put your mom in that situation. How would you feel about that? It’s a devastating situation. And you have an opportunity to make an impact and change that.’”