Former University of Cincinnati volleyball player Shalom Ifeanyi was kicked off of her team just because of her selfies on Instagram. The black athlete also lost her scholarship.
She is now suing her school in the Ohio federal court, claiming her coach said the images were “seductive,” alleging racial and sexual harassment.
Ifeanyi uploaded some selfies on Instagram, but she had to take them down after her coach, Molly Alvey, reportedly asked her to delete them because they were revealing and left a bad impression.
According to the lawsuit, Alvey made the top-performing volleyball player open her Instagram account and reviewed her pictures. “When the football players see this, what do you think they see? They see your breasts. It’s seductive,” she allegedly said.
However, Ifeanyi’s pictures were selfies that were majorly focusing on her smiling face. According to Ifeanyi, the images showed just a little bit of cleavage.
She deleted those pictures, but uploaded some other images after a short duration. The coach messaged her, asking the 19-year-old to remove them. This is when Ifeanyi replied back and told her coach she was being body shamed because of her race.
“Ok Coach However I feel like I’m being body shamed because I’m not flat chested. I’m not trying to show my boobs coach, I can’t make them go away. In these pictures I just got my hair done and really liked my makeup and thought the pictures were pretty,” she responded in her text message.
“My teammates have swimsuit photos that are more revealing than me in a tank top. I will delete them if you really want me too [sic] but I feel like because people say I’m pretty I’m being sexualized. There’s a history of black women because of their bodies being sexualized and that’s what appears to be happening to me,” she continued. “I can’t help the way I’m built. I am not trying to argue, I just feel like I have to be flat chested or really skinny in order to post.”
Alvey did not reply back, but Ifeyani, who was awarded “top performer of the week” by the team’s strength training coach, was dismissed from the team in 2017.
The lawsuit contains screenshot of the messages.
Women athletes are generally strongly built which gives them the ability to jump and hit the ball. However, for Alvey a picture of a strong looking athlete was indecent.
"No such requests were made to other members of the women's volleyball team who were of slighter build and lighter complexion despite photographs picturing them in outfits, including but not limited to, two-piece swimsuits," her lawsuit said.
She filed a Title IX complaint, but the university did not respond for the past for nine months. The school and the coach also have not commented on Ifeyani's case.
Thumbnail/Banner: Pixabay, KeithJJ