The Chorus spoiled a 41-20 victory for the Ducks, who were ranked No. 25 at the start of the game against the No. 12 Cougars. Hours after the game, the governor of Utah denounced the chant as “religious bigot”. On Sunday afternoon, officials from the University of Oregon apologized, calling the chant “offensive and shameful”. The students said they wereashamedfrom their classmates.
BYU, located in Provo, Utah, was founded in 1875 by Brigham Young, who served from 1847 to 1877 as the second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Almost all of BYU’s more than 30,000 students are Mormons.
A BYU alum sat next to the student section and captured the chant in a seven-second video that has since been viewed more than 988,000 times on Twitter. Aubrey, the alum identified only by her first name, told KSTU that she attended the Cougars-Ducks game with a close friend from college as part of their tradition of visiting an opposing team’s stadium for a BYU away game.
Aubrey said the student section shouted the chant twice before recording her video with 2:53 to go in the second term. BYU scored a touchdown and was preparing to kick an extra run that made it 10-7. She told KSTU that she heard the chant twice more but didn’t confront the students “because I felt it would make the situation worse.” Instead, she told the station, she alerted a stadium staff member.
“It was really disappointing,” she told the TV station, adding that “there’s an unfortunate acceptance in many areas that you don’t make fun of a lot of religions, but Mormons are a free game to make fun. And I wish it would stop.”
Aubrey’s video caught the attention of Utah Governor Spencer Cox (R), who just hours after the game says that “religious bigotry [is] alive and celebrated in Oregon.
That’s not true, or at least it shouldn’t be, said his Oregon counterpart, Governor Kate Brown (D).
“In Oregon, we strive to be a welcoming and inclusive state for everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender or origin,” Brown said in A declaration. “Our state and our nation have an ugly history of discrimination and bigotry. The chanting during yesterday’s Oregon-BYU game was unacceptable.
University of Oregon officials agree. On Sunday afternoon, they apologized for “an offensive and shameful chant coming from the student section during yesterday’s game”.
“These types of actions go against everything the university stands for, and it goes against the spirit of competition,” university officials said in the statement. “We can and will do better as a campus community that has no room for hate, prejudice or bigotry.”
Kris Winter, the university’s acting vice president for the student life division, told The Associated Press that officials would investigate what happened.
The Oregon Pit Crew, the official Twitter account for the Ducks’ student chapter, also said he was sorry, adding that he “does not condone or support any hate speech directed against his religion.”
An almost identical incident occurred last season in college football on November 27, when the Cougars beat the University of Southern California Trojans, 35-31, in Los Angeles. Several BYU fans at the game told the Deseret News that on at least five occasions, USC students shouted the same lewd, anti-Mormon chant that Ducks fans would engage in less than a year later.
USC officials have issued an apology a day later, denouncing the chant as “bad taste” and saying it “didn’t match our Trojan values”.
BYU says investigation found no evidence of racial slurs against Duke volleyball player
Last month, BYU came under fire when a Duke women’s volleyball player accused a Cougars fan of repeatedly yelling a racial slur at outside forward Rachel Richardson “every time she was serving” in an Aug. 26 game at Provo. Richardson was then “threatened by a white man who told her to watch her heading to the team bus,” her godmother, Fort Worth attorney Lesa Pamplin, tweeted after the game.
While BYU initially apologized to the Blue Devils and banned the student accused of yelling racial slurs at Richardson, it announced Sept. 9 that an investigation into the incident found ” no evidence to substantiate the allegation that fans engaged in or uttered racial heckling”. racial slurs at the event.