With national women's rights organizations, the ACLU of Connecticut filed a friend of the court brief siding with Noriana Radwan, a former University of Connecticut women's soccer player who was kicked off the team and had her scholarship revoked -- and who therefore lost her ability to attend UConn -- because she raised her middle finger in celebration after the team's victory in a tournament champsionship. This punishment was much more severe than those faced by male UConn athletes for far worse behavior.
Women athletes should be treated equally, not held to harmful double standards based on stereotypes about what is "ladylike" behavior. A woman college athlete should not receive harsher discipline for making a gesture in the heat of competition (or joy of celebration) that some might find offensive than would a male athlete. But that is exactly what appears to have happened in this case.
Title IX, a federal anti-discrimination law, is meant to promise equal treatment and to prohibit discrimination in education “because of sex.” College athletes still have First Amendment rights. We filed this brief to argue for both of those rights, as Noriana Radwan’s case is about Title IX rights and First Amendment rights for student athletes across the country.