An estimated 20 Ole Miss football players were among the audience members that heckled a school production of “The Laramie Project” Tuesday night. The play is about an openly gay male that was murdered in Laramie County, Wyoming.
The play’s director says says some audience members were using terms like “fag” and described the reaction as “borderline hate speech.”
House director Lyda Phillips called a coach who called a member of the athletics department to come to the theater.
“The football players were certainly not the only audience members that were being offensive last night. But they were definitely the ones who seemed to initiate others in the audience to say things, too. It seemed like they didn’t know that they were representing the university when they were doing these things.”
Update Part 2: Member of audience in the front row says he heard nothing beyond laughter.
Added Theatre Department Chair Rene Pulliam:
“The football players were asked by the athletics department to apologize to the cast. However, I’m not sure the players truly understood what they were apologizing for.”
The apology was delivered by one undisclosed player on behalf of the entire group. The Daily Mississippian says the Ole Miss Athletics Department had no comment but that Ledbetter received an email from the department stating they were aware of the issue and would handle accordingly.
Update: Coach Hugh Freeze takes to Twitter to comment.
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
Update Part Two: Audience member in front row says he heard nothing beyond laughter.