OSU Students, Fans Respond To Game Day Sign Controversy

Saturday, August 30th 2014, 11:31 pm
By: News 9

Before the OSU Cowboys started the season against the number one team in the country, the school was taking some hits all because of a fan sign referring to a historical tragedy involving Native Americans.

It's a sign that's gone viral, but many say for all the wrong reasons.

"It pretty offensive actually I think you're carrying sports a little too far at that point," said Kellan Jackson of Stillwater. “You got to consider the background with that whole comment. It's pretty insensitive.”

The game day sign was painted by a group of OSU students, which reads, "Send 'em home," #Trail_of_Tears" and "GoPokes." This comes as Oklahoma State University faced off with the Florida State Seminoles.

“Don't think they were going against Indian themselves, just the Seminoles as in the school,” said OSU fan Chad Flower from Kansas.

Many Cowboy fans weighed in on the controversy in Stillwater on Saturday, showing support for OSU, some fans say the Pokes were simply "poking fun."

“It's just a game, you know people were pretty revved up. I don't see an issue with it,” said LeAnn Kirkland, and OSU fan from OKC.

8/30/2014 Related Story: Cherokee Chief Responds To OSU Student ‘Trail Of Tears' Game Day Sign

“Think it's all in good fun, you don't expect colleges to be nice to each other,” said Florida resident Austin Blanton studying at Oklahoma Baptist University.

A photo of the sign was posted on Twitter where it has received an overwhelming response.

"If that is your heritage then you don't want that to be made fun of whatsoever. It's almost as bad as using some other kind of racial slur," said Kelley Hamilton of Kansas.

"I think there is some seriousness too it, but at the same time there's always those people who are going to blow it out of proportion and make it bigger than what it is," said fifth-year OSU student Catherine Horde.

“It might not have been the best thing to do, but they didn't mean it that way. I hope people see it as a bad judgment call, and I mean, it happens, we make mistakes.”

A statement that Oklahoma State University tweeted says:

OSU does not condone the insensitive sign shown at today's Game Day event and have requested that it be removed.

“It could've been on that teetering edge, but go cowboys, and maybe with our heritage, we kind of feel like we can support both sides of that, since we do have that culture here,” said OSU alum Rochelle Landwehr.

The Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker calls the issue with the sign a "teachable moment."

“I'm sure that they'll explain it...that how hurtful it really is, and they obviously don't understand…and we've got more work to do,” Baker said.

This incident actually comes on the heels of the Cherokee National Holiday, where the tribe commemorated 175 years since the tragic Trail of Tears, where thousands of Native Americans were forced from the Southeast U.S. to Oklahoma and many died.