How leagues handle toxic masculinity: A brief case study

Yesterday, we reported on how two different male-presenting roller derby referees responded to the current news cycle: with toxic attitudes and toxic masculinity indicate of rape culture.

In the first case, of Nick Castrillion, Infinity Roller Derby removed him from their league within five hours of his comments; later that day, the removed him from their website. They also posted this to their Facebook page:

Thank you, Infinity Roller Derby, for taking clear cut, immediate, decisive action. You did the right thing and we hope that other leagues will learn from your example.

In the second case, IE Derby Divas referee Desmon Bryant, doubled down after being called out on his bad behavior. In fact, he posted the following comment on this site last night:

Where do I even begin! My post yesterday is not an attack on any victims of abuse in any way and I am sorry that you the masses are so MISINFORMED. That being said it is time to get serious. We now live in a world where it is totally ok to slander and smear someone’s reputation and livelihood over a disagreement. Let me be clear so there is no confusion. I support any victim and the legal system that we ALL must participate in to get true JUSTICE! Sadly we now live in a time where the perception is that the legal system has let us down sadly it has in some cases, but this perception has led to the masses holding their own form of trial in print and on social media. I am not ok with this and neither should you be. I take offence to the way the Snatch situation was handled after he was told he is no longer welcome within the derby community. His actions and words were wrong and he has paid the price for that. No argument here!!! What I took offense to was the garbage being spewed about him by people that have never interacted with him outside of the internet. The suggestions of bodily harm and threats upon his ability to make a living go far beyond justice into bullying and lynch mob mentality and that should not be accepted as well.

Now to my actions yesterday. I took offense to the original post when I saw it. I take offense as a person being told sit down and shut up! I take offense as a person being told that I need to reflect on my life, behaviors, words, sexism, bias, misogyny and habits! Yes, I know that the original statement wasn’t directed at be but I took offense none the less. Was my timing bad, maybe but when is a good time!?! If you cannot support the growth of women’s rights and the strong support for victims without putting men as a whole down then you and I don’t need to be friends. You are on notice! I support the due process that every victim and the accused must go through when actually seeking justice. This social media guilty until proven innocent bullshit is not ok and goes completely against the equality we all so dearly want. I’m sorry if you feel like my timing was insensitive and you are rightfully entitled to your opinions. What has transpired since my message is a SHIT SHOW. EACH and every one of you out there spreading lies, rumors, and placing false judgement on my character are the PROBLEM not the solution! I will not be the target of your simple minded, weak spirited witch hunt. I AM A PERSON WITH AN OPINION, YOU WILL NOT INTIMIDATE ME!!! Anyone that has sent more than 5 minutes with me knows that I am not the villain you are trying to make me out to be. I treat everyone with the respect that they show me, but will defend myself when I must. This is not me making excuses and back peddling at all. I stand behind my post however ill-timed you might feel it was and hope that this sheds more light on my motives.

As to the nature of my name. It was given to me, and all parties involved in the events that led up to me being named where consulted before it was given to me. Rainbow SmasHer has absolutely nothing to do with violence towards anyone. Your assumption is incorrect!

As the original post said! Reflect on how you can do better as will I, because the fact that I’m even having to write this shows just how backwards the world and derby really is! WE CAN ALL DO BETTER!

Let us be clear on this point: No one took undue offense to Bryant’s name. Indeed, Bryant’s words speak for themselves.

How did his league, IE Derby Divas react? They seemed to support him.

Later, they claimed that people were upset because they were confusing Bryant with Castrillion, and that Castrillion had been the referee, unaffiliated with IEDD, who made the offensive remarks.

For the record, few, if any, of us are confusing the two officials. They are two separate officials, with two different leagues, who each made misogynistic remarks on social media at a time when many in the nation are re-experiencing past traumas related to sexual violence.

IEDD’s response is in stark contract to IRD’s response. The actions of each league demonstrate opposite responses to instances of toxic masculinity and disrespect and provide an example of how to act and an example of how not to react.

If you or your league is faced with similar situations, use IRD as your model. Take direct and immediate action. Demonstrate to your league and to your community that you take sexual violence seriously. Do not tolerate it in your space. Make sure others know that you intend to foster and maintain safe spaces. Don’t demonstrate to the world that you don’t care about survivors of sexual assault, harassment, or even casual, everyday sexism. Be better.

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  • Maybe leagues with skaters that have names like ViolateHer will take note of this too. Sexually violent names are not cool, even on the backs of female identifying skaters.

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