The ESPN College GameDay show is live from Fort Worth, Texas ahead of the Advocare Cowboys Classic between the defending national champions Florida State Seminoles and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. One of the most entertaining parts of the show are the signs behind the set.
Fans get to show off their creativity, wit and humor on their signs making fun of their rivals or opponents. Sometimes a few scandalous signs sneak through, or sometimes signs that are completely ridiculous.
And apparently some times racially insensitive signs sneak through.
Take this one for instance, what I assume has to be an Oklahoma State fan, though it looks like he is wearing Florida State colors, is holding up a sign that depicts “Pistol Pete” holding his hands up with the caption “Don’t Spear.” It is a not so subtle reference to the tense situation in Ferguson over the tragic death of Michael Brown at the hands of police officers, an incident which has sparked protests and created racial tension in the city.
— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) August 30, 2014
It seems like an Oklahoma State sign but the fan looks like he is in Florida State colors, so we can’t necessarily blame either school for that one. Which is already a sign of how bad of a sign it is. But we can blame Oklahoma State fans for this sign. Oklahoma State fans are apparently unaware of the debate going on involving the NFL team the Washington Redskins and whether their mascot is racially insensitive or a racist name entirely. Some Oklahoma State fans are have made a sign that reads “send them home” with the hash tag “Trail of Tears.”
The person who posted it to Twitter tried to apologize and explain it. Though he deleted his tweet of the picture and retweeted someone else’s post of it.
Sorry to everyone that got butt hurt by my last tweet, just btw I’m 1/16th Cherokee and my family and Indian friends thought it was hilariou
— Austin Buchanan (@9_Buchanan_23) August 30, 2014
But given his graphic language and use of insensitive and derogatory terms I think it is safe to say racist. For instance this homophobic slur directed at OU fans.
And the ever so popular white guy getting his “Malibu’s Most Wanted” on.
Going to Dallas niggas! #GoPokes
— Austin Buchanan (@9_Buchanan_23) August 29, 2014
But hey, maybe he is 1/16th gay and black.
[UPDATE:] The student making the Tweets showcased above set his Twitter to private removing the embed feature above. You can still see the content of the Tweets above though.
[UPDATE:] Oklahoma State tweeted about the signs saying they don’t condone it.
OSU does not condone the insensitive sign shown at today’s GameDay event and have requested that it be removed.
— Oklahoma State Univ. (@okstate) August 30, 2014
[UPDATE:] Austin Buchanan, the student making the Tweets above, has released a statement to FanSided. It is portrayed as if he wrote it, but given the way his Tweets were worded and phrased, it is probably safe to assume he had help writing this. Hard to imagine he went from defending the sign and saying those offended were “butt hurt” while tailgating and participating in pre-game festivities, to apologetic in a matter of hours.
Nevertheless, here is the statement in its entirety:
My name is Austin Buchanan. I am a junior at Oklahoma State University, having transferred last spring. Today was my first football game as an OSU Cowboy, so I am obviously new to OSU’s game-day traditions. In my zeal to support the OSU Cowboys in their season opener against the Florida State Seminoles in Dallas today, my friends and I made a banner. I appeared in a picture with that banner, which I shared via my Twitter account. Included on our banner was a hashtag insensitively referencing the Trail of Tears. The Twitter post and picture were retweeted and shared by many, eventually going viral.
Though we did not set out to hurt or offend anyone when we made our banner, I see that it did just that. Referencing the Trail of Tears in such a flippant and disrespectful manner was insensitive and wrong, and I make no defense for our having had such a lapse in judgment. I apologize for our mistake. I am truly sorry.
To all Native Americans: I hope you can and will forgive me for diminishing a part of your history that should never be made light of. I pledge that I will invest diligent study reacquainting myself with the horrors of Trail of Tears so I don’t repeat the mistake I made today.
To the entire OSU family of administrators, students, student athletes, alumni, and fans: I embarrassed us today. I am sorry, and I hope you, as well, can forgive me. I love OSU. I want to contribute to, rather than take from, OSU’s positive image in the world. Today I failed in that effort. I promise to do better in the future. While I can’t promise I won’t make more mistakes, I commit to learn from them, hopefully becoming a better person in the process.
Further, in the aftermath of today’s incident, the content of some of my social media accounts was called into question for various reasons. That is as it should be. As I look back on things I have shared online, I realize I’ve said hurtful, insensitive, and mean things that do not reflect the young man I want to be. I have deactivated my Twitter account so that I can give serious thought to how I can use all forms of communication more appropriately and positively in the future.
I hope today’s mistake on my part serves as a reminder to all of us to put more thought into what we say, do, and share via social media. Words mean things, and statements have consequences. I have seen that very clearly today. To all who share part of themselves with the world via social media, please look to me as an example and a reminder that words can never be un-said and that what we share online can never, ever go away—though we might gladly give all we have to make it so.
Lastly, to the many who have attempted to contact me in many various ways. Thank you for holding me accountable to the higher standard I should maintain as a responsible young man. I have heard you, and I will work hard to make sure that I do not repeat these kinds of mistakes.
Words cannot fully express my sorrow and shame. While you certainly don’t owe it to me, I ask for your forgiveness.
[Editorial Note:] Headline was changed from ‘racist’ to ‘racially insensitive.’