Mississippi lived up to it’s reputation of being a state where the Old South still lives when members of the University of Southern Mississippi’s band decided to indulge in a time honored tradition of showing their racist behinds to the rest of the nation.
In a game Thursday night against Kansas State, KSU point guard Angel Rodriquez headed to the free throw line after drawing a foul. As he set up his shot, the Golden Eagle band began jeering and screaming, “Where’s your green card?” repeatedly until their band director shut them up.
Rodriquez, who hails from Puerto Rico, thus rendering his need for a green card null and void — while simultaneously highlighting the stupidity and narrow-minded bigotry of the band members — managed to keep his cool as the ugliness swirled around him.
Southern Miss President Martha Saunders was quick to issue an apology for the incident, and even quicker to make it clear that it was just a “few” students and not the entire band:
We deeply regret the remarks made by a few students at today’s game,” Saunders said. “The words of these individuals do not represent the sentiments of our pep band, athletic department or university. We apologize to Mr. Rodriguez and will take quick and appropriate disciplinary action against the students involved in this isolated incident.”
USM interim athletic director Jeff Hammond met with Kansas State athletic director John Currie to further smooth over the matter, saying “that is not who we are,” reports the Hattiesburg American.
I want to enunciate to him that the band’s behavior does not represent Southern Miss,” Hammond said. “I want to reach out to Conference USA and anyone else who is impacted by this and take full responsibility for this,” Hammond said. “This does not represent the state or university. This is not acceptable.”
Kansas State went on to win the close game, 70-64.
Though Saunders claims that swift disciplinary action will be taken against the “few” students who made themselves sound stupid and uneducated on national television, at a university that still proudly calls its dancing team “Dixie Darlings” and, as recently as 2011, was sued by a Latina student who alleged racial discrimination by administrators and professors, the racism entrenched in an institution built and sustained in the land of Jim, Jane and Juan Crow will more than likely continue to thrive.