An audience that featured an estimated 20 Ole Miss football players reportedly used derogatory slurs and heckled cast members during a performance of a play on the Ole Miss campus Tuesday night.
According to the school paper, the theater department was doing a performance of a play called The Laramie Project. The play was about Matthew Shepard, an openly gay University of Wyoming student who was tortured and murdered in 1998.
According to the play's director and theater faculty member Rory Ledbetter, some audience members used derogatory slurs like "fag" and heckled both cast members and the characters they were portraying for their body types and sexual orientations. Ledbetter said the audience's reactions included "borderline hate speech."
The paper reports that the players attended the speech because it was a requirement of the theater course they are enrolled in. The play's house director contacted an Ole Miss coach who then contacted the athletic department's Drew Clinton. After Clinton arrived the players apologized to the cast members through one unnamed player.
"The football players were asked by the athletics department to apologize to the cast," department chair Rene Pulliam told the paper. "However, I'm not sure the players truly understood what they were apologizing for."
Now, it's important to point out that it was not just the football players heckling the cast during the play. Other students reportedly did as well, but still, this isn't exactly the kind of behavior you'd like to see from anybody, not just football players.
The Ole Miss athletic department has not issued a comment on the story at this time though coach Hugh Freeze did tweet this on Thursday morning.
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