NSU Athletics issues statement on controversial photo

NSU Baseball Photo

From the social media facebook page of Northwestern State Demons:

Northwestern State athletics director Greg Burke and head baseball coach Lane Burroughs Monday issued the following statement regarding offensive content on social media involving four baseball student-athletes:

“We’re all disappointed in the decision these young men made,” said Burke. “Their intentions were not malicious, but nonetheless disrespectful.”

Burke met with the entire baseball team on Monday afternoon to address the situation, and said he will hold meetings to discuss the situation with all NSU teams.

“This is a teachable moment. We can help young people learn invaluable lessons about how their actions impact others, and about showing sensitivity at all times to all people. We will use this situation to educate all of our student-athletes, and by extension many others who they directly and indirectly influence and impact,” said Burke.

Burke said the athletics program will apply to have an NCAA Diversity Workshop conducted on campus, which has been done previously at NSU.

“We pride ourselves on a strong sense of family in our program. My children are growing up around these young men, and we expect the very best from them,” said Burroughs. “We realize the appearance created, and I want to stress that it is diametrically opposite of who we are and who we strive to be. These four student-athletes are very remorseful about this.”

Burroughs said to heighten their awareness of sensitivity issues, the entire team and coaching staff will do extensive community service work, including experiences that will help strengthen understanding of diversity concerns in today’s society.

Original Story:  https://www.facebook.com/nsudemons

UPDATED AT 5:09PM – November 3, 2015

Greg Burke will  be on LIVE with Natchitoches Blessings on Thursday at 7:15am to talk about his statement and the controversial photo.   My92.3KNOC.

UPDATED AT 5:12PM – November 3, 2015

This was posted to the NSU Athletics Facebook page, and I feel like it should be posted here as well.

This afternoon, related to offensive content on social media involving four members of the Northwestern State baseball team, the following statement was issued by all team members:

The players, coaches and staff of the NSU baseball program, and the four young men in the picture that was posted on social media have great regret about this situation. We are all accountable for what happened. We want to apologize to those we offended. We now understand why they would be. We had no disrespectful intention, and we had no idea about the negative implications of what we were doing, though we should have.

This picture was taken at a team gathering weeks ago when the theme was “Boy Bands” and groups of players dressed up as boy bands. This group thought of the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou” which had four main characters who formed the “Soggy Bottom Boys” band. The characters are extremely close, like family. One of the characters was African-American. None of those four players are. The African-American players on our team were already portraying other bands.

We feel very badly that we didn’t realize the history involved and how offensive white people putting on blackface is for many people of all races. If one person was offended, that is too many.

All we can do from here is apologize, hope for forgiveness and understanding, and work toward this resulting in people at NSU and elsewhere being aware of issues like this and the vital need for sensitivity and understanding of our fellow man. We can only control our actions, and along those lines, our players, coaches and staff are going to go through sensitivity training to ensure we all fully appreciate the issues involved, and grow from this experience. We also are going to do extra community service work, including activities that will help strengthen understanding of diversity concerns in our society.

2 thoughts on “NSU Athletics issues statement on controversial photo

  1. Why haven’t the student athletes apologized? This is a decent comment from the university after the fact but where were the administrators, coaches, staff, etc… when these men walked into the event? No one corrected them at the time.! It is only now, weeks later, because of the backlash, that any “official statement” is being released.
    If the school is truly concerned about making this a teachable moment, stop letting these men hide behind your scripted statement and make them apologize. I believe that isn’t going to happen because they don’t recognize what they have done is insulting.
    If a Black woman wanted to have Madonna as her costume, she would put on the lace, bustier bra, and more. No need to paint herself white. If a White man wanted Mr. T as his costume, he would wear a Mohawk, gold chains, and more. No need to paint himself Black. Notice to all people, “It is insulting to paint yourself in blackface”. Spread the word.

  2. Thank you for clarifying . As a proud alumni of NSU I was very concerned when I saw this image on my Facbook newsfeed. I was in shock. I am glad that this will be used as a teachable moment and those involved will learn to be culturally competent.

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