Southern Mississippi punishes band members for ignorant chant

Jeff Eisenberg

The members of Southern Mississippi's pep band who chanted "where's your green card?" at Puerto Rico-born Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez last Thursday will pay a stiff price for their poor decision.

School president Martha Saunders announced Tuesday that five band members have had their scholarships revoked, have been removed from the band and will have to complete a two-hour cultural sensitivity training course this week. None of the names of the band members were revealed.

[ Related: Southern Miss band chants racist taunts at Kansas State player ]

The incident took place when Rodriguez went to the free-throw line late in the first half of Kansas State's 70-64 victory over Southern Mississippi in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Rodriguez later accepted an apology from Southern Mississippi's athletic director at the team hotel, telling the Associated Press ''there's ignorant people and I know that's not how they want to represent their university.''

Maybe the most ignorant part of the chant was that the basis for the band's racism was itself misguided. Since Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, Rodriguez wouldn't have needed a green card even if he hadn't grown up in Miami and starred for a high school basketball team in that city.

Credit Southern Mississippi for apologizing immediately and handing down a swift, decisive punishment to those involved.

Many of us made decisions in college we'd probably do over if we could. Hopefully this will be a mistake the students involved can learn from.

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