Fan speaks out after filming derogatory student chant at BYU vs. Oregon game

Sep 18, 2022, 10:53 PM | Updated: Sep 19, 2022, 11:49 am

The University of Oregon is apologizing for chants in videos in the student section of Saturday’s Oregon Ducks vs. Brigham Young University football game in Eugene, Oregon.

The videos were widely shared on social media, leading to a response from Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and apologies from Oregon and the university’s student section group.

For the fan who recorded the videos, it wasn’t just what the students were chanting that bothered her.

Aubrey said she flew from her home on the East Coast out to Oregon to meet up with a friend for Saturday’s game. She explained it’s an annual tradition to attend a BYU away game with that friend as they cheer on their college team while exploring a new city.

At the start of the game, she described how BYU football players came onto the field holding a University of Oregon flag with the name “Spencer Webb” on it, paying tribute to the recently deceased Oregon football player. She said the fans around her seemed impressed with the support.

As they watched the Cougs square off against the Ducks, that sentiment took a 180, and Aubrey explained how the two began to hear disrespectful chants.

“Actually, my friend heard it first, and she leaned over to me and asked, ‘Are they saying such and such?”‘ Aubrey recounted. “And I said, ‘Yeah, they are.'”

The chanting continued, then died down, and Aubrey said it soon started back up again for a second time.

The third time students again began shouting the vulgar statement. She said she got her phone out to record in hopes of deterring the students. Instead, students waved at her.

“(F***) the Mormons!” students shout, cupping their hands over their mouths. They clap melodically in unison before yelling it again.

Aubrey said she didn’t say anything to engage with the student fans but continued to film each time the chanting started back up. At one point, a student yells, “Send it to my mom! Hi, Mom!” at Aubrey.

“The Oregon fan behind me leaned over and told me essentially, ‘to be kind to them, they’re only freshman,'” Aubrey said.

Aubrey explained that she felt the fan was acknowledging the chant was offensive and trying to encourage her to be OK with it. But she wasn’t.

“We don’t chant offensive things about religions, race, people’s orientation. We don’t do that,” she said. “If you’re 18, you know that by that point. So, you don’t get a pass if you’re a freshman.”

Aubrey described how she tried to get the attention of the event management staff. She went to a man standing near the student section and showed him the videos, explaining what she was hearing.

“I was also disappointed in the stadium staff, especially the first one that I spoke to. He apparently thought it was funny, so that was disappointing,” Aubrey said.

She said another staff member took the situation seriously and radioed someone over, who said they could try to make an announcement, but Aubrey said no announcement was ever made.

A friend later posted her video on social media, and it made the rounds, including from Gov. Cox.

“Religious bigotry alive and celebrated in Oregon,” Cox’s tweet said.

On Sunday, the University of Oregon issued a statement:

The University of Oregon sincerely apologizes for an offensive and disgraceful chant coming from the student section during yesterday’s game against Brigham Young University. These types of actions go against everything the university stands for, and it goes against the spirit of competition. We can and will do better as a campus community that has no place for hate, bias or bigotry. 

The Oregon Pit Crew, the official student-run Twitter account for the student section, also released an apology:

To all @BYUfootball fans in attendance at today’s game, we would like to apologize for the actions of the students in attendance. We do not condone or support any hateful speech directed towards one’s religion and are ashamed of those who participated.

Aubrey is hoping what she witnessed will lead to more than an apology, but the action in the future and better respect from fans.

“I would like to see it stop,” she said, continuing, “so that other people don’t have to experience that anymore.”

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Fan speaks out after filming derogatory student chant at BYU vs. Oregon game