Casey Burns: Not amused

January 25, 2014 

I am a second-year law student at the University of North Carolina. I was in class recently listening to my professor describe an assignment. He emphasized the importance of considering our clients’ backgrounds when writing a letter. “Remember, these people are book store owners, they are probably educated people, they can read ... these aren’t college athletes.”

Of course not. What good would it do for us to write to college athletes when college athletes are all, obviously, illiterate?

Well, guess what? I was a college athlete. I played field hockey for four years at Carolina. I practiced for hours every day, traveled every weekend and was on two national championship teams. But the real surprise? Not only can I read, I was a Morehead-Cain Scholar.

The ongoing saga of academic impropriety in the student-athlete community at Carolina has made the occasional stab at our institution fairly inevitable. But this comment pushed me over the edge.

Those who consider themselves open-minded intellectuals and use the term “college athlete” as a synonym for illiterate demonstrate their own ignorance.

It’s safe to say that my professor meant his comment as a joke, and it’s also pretty safe to say he assumed he was in a room of non-athletes. It was, after all, a law school.

Casey Burns

Chapel Hill

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