Sam Neves ’23, Campus Reform
Quidditch, a real-life sport inspired by a game that wizards and witches play in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, is officially changing its name to “Quadball,” governing bodies announced on July 19.
As previously covered by Campus Reform in January, the name change comes as an attempt to distance the collegiate sport from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling due to her “anti-trans positions.”
Since then, Rowling has tweeted and written lengthy op-eds, doubling down on her position.
On July 11, Rowling shared an article on Twitter written by the parents of a “severely learning-disabled” 16-year-old girl. The report says that a policy change at her school would now allow men to take their daughter to the bathroom one-on-one, “behind a closed door.”
Rowling criticized the policy and accused it of “endangering extremely vulnerable girls.”
In a June 2020 tweet, Rowling satirized an article that referred to women as “people who menstruate.”
She tweeted: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
In response, Rowling has received numerous death threats on social media, some from well-known verified users. Trans activists have also allegedly threatened her with rape, assassination, pipe bombs, and also leaked her home address on the internet.
Under such criticism, students argue that distancing Quidditch from its Harry Potter roots is best.
Today, more than 200 American universities have active Quidditch teams representing their schools.
Middlebury College alum Alex Benepe, who created the game, is an advocate for the name change, telling the New York Post it was a “bold” choice.
Hunter Click, a player for Florida State Quidditch, also agrees with the name change.
He told Campus Reform, “Quidditch as a community is probably one of the most accepting sports in supporting transgender players so distancing ourselves from someone like J.K. Rowling is super important for our community and players.”
Others disagree, however.
Mark Murphy, a Quidditch player for Baylor University, told Campus Reform that the name change was a “bad decision.”
“USQ is basically admitting that we’re not allowed to like Harry Potter, because the author is ‘problematic’. But here’s the deal: no one is unproblematic. Every creator is going to have something they shouldn’t [have] done, or something they shouldn’t have said, but that doesn’t mean they can’t create a good thing. JK Rowling created a good thing, and we can still enjoy that without enjoying her,” said Murphy said.
Murphy and Click agreed on one thing, however: that the name change could compromise the sports’ popularity and players’ recruitment.
“Quidditch is already a joke of a sport among the general public. The only reason anyone joins Quidditch is because of its association with Harry Potter. If you remove that, people who go ‘oh wow I’d sure like to join the Quidditch team at my school’ aren’t going to find one anymore,” Murphy concluded.
Campus Reform contacted all parties mentioned in this article for comment. The article will be updated accordingly.
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