This week about 20 Ole Miss football players attended a school play “The Laramie Project” which discusses the 1998 torture and murder of openly gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. What happened while they were there is unacceptable:
Football players were described as “initiating” audience members using “fag” and other anti-gay slurs, “hollering at the females in the cast,” and “taking pictures of cast members while making fun of them.” One football player delivered an apology to the cast on behalf of the players. The Ole Miss Theatre Dept. Chair said she was “not sure players understood what they were apologizing for.”
Head coach Hugh Freeze also issued an apology via Twitter:
We certainly do not condone any actions that offend or hurt people in any way.We are working with all departments involved to find the facts
— Hugh Freeze (@CoachHughFreeze) October 3, 2013
These are the sorts of ugly incidents that Ole Miss continues to have. The school has a long history of racism and homophobia that is never fully addressed but they consistently say “things have changed.” These types of slurs and activities are also part of a football culture that needs to change as well. Hopefully there is a way this can be used as a way to learn and grow. History doesn’t indicate that will happen though.