Oregon apologizes for ‘despicable chants’ directed at BYU fans and their religion during Saturday’s game at Autzen Stadium
School official says behavior of some OU fans was ‘simply unacceptable’ and that Oregon will investigate the inappropriate behavior
EUGENE, Oregon — University of Oregon officials are apologizing for “despicable chants” directed at BYU fans and their religion in the second half of the Ducks’ 41-20 win over the Cougars Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
The chants emanated from at least three Oregon fans and drew a rebuke on Twitter from Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Saturday night after video of the fans chanting the religious slur surfaced on Twitter.
“The university apologizes for the despicable chants made by some University of Oregon fans at today’s football game with Brigham Young University. There is no place for hate, bias or bigotry at the University of Oregon. These actions are simply unacceptable. We will investigate, and we call on our students and campus community to refuse to accept or tolerate this type of behavior,” said Kris Winter, interim Vice President for the Division of Student Life at the University of Oregon, in an emailed message to the Deseret News.
The chants targeted members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are commonly referred to as Mormons, and were similar to what USC fans chanted at BYU last November.
“Religious bigotry alive and celebrated in Oregon,” Cox said in a tweet Saturday.
Saturday’s game kicked off at 1:30 p.m. MDT and was televised nationally by Fox. It was not clear whether the chants were audible on the television broadcast.
Oregon has several players with ties to Utah or who are members of the Church, including linebacker Noah Sewell, a standout at Orem High near BYU before moving on to play for the Ducks.
Last November, after BYU defeated Southern California 35-31 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, USC’s athletic department issued a public apology the following day via Twitter for “an offensive chant” it says came from its student cheering section.
The chants were clearly heard several times that night on ESPN’s national broadcast of the game.