Earlier this week, members of the University of Oklahoma chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were caught on video gleefully singing a song which included the lyrics "There will never be a nigger in SAE" and "You can hang him from a tree." Since the release of the clip, both the fraternity and the University have come under heavy scrutiny from, well, anyone with a semblance of decency. The fallout has included the closing of the SAE chapter at the school, the expulsion of the members caught singing on camera, and countless public shamings from everyone from the school's President to Waka Flocka Flame.
The impact of the incident has been immense, and even if there are news outlets attempting to pass the blame onto rap music for these students' unfiltered racist language, the University is finding it difficult to continue business as usual.
Possibly the most visible impact can be seen on University of Oklahoma's athletics. The school's biggest sport—football—is already seeing players de-commit from the program, a move that could impact not only school spirit but the University's bottom line. And although most Americans can deduce that this type of incident is probably in no way exclusive to SAE or OU, the two have become the face for neo-racism in Greek life.
Because of this, we decided to check out the racial makeup of SAE's best-ever athletes. Nearly every frat or sorority has a "notable alumni" Wikipedia page, and SAE is no different. Except maybe for the fact that they have zero black people among their notable Sports figures. Of the 79 athletes on the list (17 baseball players, 10 basketball players, 32 football players, 8 golfers, 3 tennis players, & 9 "others"), none of them are black, and—in fact—none of them appear to be non-white. It's an unfortunate discovery for a fraternity already reeling from controversy.
Is this just a microcosm of the larger problem of segregation in our nation's Greek system? Probably. But with SAE "brothers" with big names like Troy Aikman, Pete Carroll, and Phil Jackson, finding this particular frat with a 79:0 ratio of white-to-black sports notables is more than a little alarming.
Hopefully the racist sing-along video and it's ensuing negative publicity opens America's eyes to the realities of 21st-century racism in our schools and universities. Or at least helps open the door for a more integrated Greek life.
Below are the top 10 most notable sports SAE alumni. Maybe sometime in the future one of these slides will include a person of color.