The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Dave Matter (h/t Deadspin) reports the Missouri men's basketball team student cheering section known as the 'Antlers' has already been sent off in two straight games following a string of complaints the group's chants have crossed the line into vulgarity.
Matter begins his report by describing the latest triumph for the Tigers, a 78-64 win over Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The team is 5-0 to start the season and oh, how things are rosy.
It seems during Monday's clash (14:48 minutes left in the game, to be exact) the students who comprise The Antlers were kicked out of the game.
What's more is this was the second consecutive game the fans were asked to leave by officials, getting kicked out of Saturday's win over Gardner-Webb.
If you are wondering what the group could possibly chant to warrant such dismissal, the items reportedly run the gamut of awful. Matter writes, "After Monday’s game, Mizzou released a document to reporters with a list of vulgar chants The Antlers made during recent games against Southeastern Louisiana and Hawaii, several of which were sexually graphic and homophobic."
- At an opposing player wearing long sleeves: "What are you trying to hide, prison tattoos or track marks?
- During a free throw: "Raise your hand if you thought Hurricane Katrina was a good thing."
The claims also state that some chants forced nearby parents to cover their children's ears and for one family to just leave the premises altogether.
The Columbia Daily Tribune's Steve Walentik reports in a story published this Sunday, junior Emmett Delaney, a student referred to as "The Antlers' Grand Poobah," met with officials last Friday to discuss the section's decorum.
Despite that powwow, the students still apparently stepped over the line and were dismissed the following day and then again on Monday.
Delaney spoke with Walentik and stated that the Antlers were trying to be much better than they had been:
But even before that meeting Friday morning, we as a group Thursday night sat and decided — keep in mind we've only had four games — but we noticed the kind of theme of our jokes aren't where they've been in the past. They were cheap, easy humor, and we just kind of thought ourselves better and tried to make a little more humorous jokes and be less offensive and crude.
At some point you have to wonder how much the section is trying to perform their own brand of comedy rather than invigorate the fanbase and the team that is playing an actual game.
Deadspin also noticed an intriguing Twitter mea culpa coming from the Antlers' feed, which also features a description, "The Antlers from ol' Mizzou are in the SEC. Dedicated to making Mizzou Arena the most hostile environment in the country."
Once again, what you see on the university's word document were acknowledged by the group. We've been actively trying to change discourse— The Antlers (@The_Antlers) November 26, 2013
The Athletic Department has made Mizzou Arena hostile to its fans, instead of the opposing teams we play.— The Antlers (@The_Antlers) November 26, 2013
Let us reiterate, any list of chants and or things said have been acknowledged by the group in our meeting with Mizzou brass on Friday— The Antlers (@The_Antlers) November 26, 2013
Prior to Thanksgiving break, we had meetings to discuss our groups general discourse and ways we can comply with the what Mizzou has asked— The Antlers (@The_Antlers) November 26, 2013
We have, since this meeting, attempted to cut out any blatant misogyny, racial, or disaster jokes. Simply stated, we've tried to be better— The Antlers (@The_Antlers) November 26, 2013
It's evident at least part of the fan section has either not fully learned the lesson or already drawn a critical eye from school officials.
Matter was able to get a few words from athletic director Mike Alden following Monday's win. While he didn't delve too deeply into the subject, he did offer this: "When we see people that don’t reflect the values of what we do as an institution, certainly those things are disappointing to us as a university. We just want to make sure folks represent the university with class."
When the AD has to spend a few moments to discuss fan conduct, perhaps you have become far more of a spectacle than intended.
It's one thing to cheer, root and celebrate the team, but the moment you take from the overall enjoyment of other fans, you have overstayed your welcome.
Let's hope a third time is the charm and the Antlers cheer their 5-0 team without having to get kicked out. That might be a tall order for this bunch though.
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