Many people are calling for some Ole Miss football players to be suspended following the news that players made gay slurs during a school play on Tuesday. University of Mississippi officials apologized on Thursday for the “borderline hate speech” and are investigating the situation.
The anti-gay slurs occurred during a theater production of The Laramie Project, which is about the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard. Garrison Gibbons, a student in the play, said that the atmosphere at the play was “radically different” and that gay slurs could be heard from the audience.
“They were laughing at lines that spoke in negative ways about gay people,” Gibbons said. Gibbons also said that he felt “an incredible amount of judgment and laughter” when his character in the play comes out as gay and even saw some people snapping pictures of him with their phones.
The football players involved apologized to the cast after the play, but Gibbons said that they didn’t find the apologies sincere. “One spoke up and said they were sorry and didn’t mean to hurt our feelings,” Gibbons said. “Another said they found humor in the play and then they were gone and the academic advisor who was with them basically said they had never been to a play before and didn’t know what to expect.”
The University of Mississippi condemned the behavior in an open letter issued on Thursday:
While we work to determine with certainty who disrupted the Laramie Project play, we want everyone within our university community and beyond to know that we strongly condemn the behavior exhibited Tuesday night. As a member of the Ole Miss family, each of us has a responsibility to be accountable for our actions, and these individuals will be held accountable. Our investigation will determine the degree to which any and all students were involved.
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Head coach Hugh Freeze also said condemned the gay slurs on 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
The situation has outraged many people, including FOX Sports’ Clay Travis. “I love the South, it’s my home and always will be my home, but I hate ignorance much more than I love the South. And we have way too much ignorance down here, always have,” Travis said. Travis went on to say that if Ole Miss doesn’t take action against the players, then the SEC needs to.