Kansas State's Angel Rodriguez (13) gets control of a loose ball in front of Southern Mississippi's Neil Watson during the first half of an East Regional NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game on Thursday.
Kansas State's Angel Rodriguez (13) gets control of a loose ball in front of Southern Mississippi's Neil Watson during the first half of an East Regional NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game on Thursday. Keith Srakocic/AP
The president of the University of Southern Mississippi is apologizing today, after members of the school's band chanted "Where's your green card?" while a Latino player took a free throw during the NCAA tournament.
The incident happened during today's game between Southern Miss and Kansas State.
BuzzFeed has video that shows Angel Rodriguez approaching the free throw line, as at least a couple of people start to chant:
Rob Cassidy, who covers Kansas State for Yahoo!, was in the stands and pinned the chants on the Southern Miss band. For the record, Rodriguez was born in Puerto Rico and being that the island is a U.S. commonwealth, it immediately affords him citizenship.
Southern Miss reacted swiftly.
"We deeply regret the remarks made by a few students at today's game," Martha Saunders, the school's president said in a statement. "The words of these individuals do not represent the sentiments of our pep band, athletic department or university. We apologize to Mr. Rodriguez and will take quick and appropriate disciplinary action against the students involved in this isolated incident."
USA Today Campus Rivalry blog reports that Southern Miss' athletic director met with his Kansas State counterpart to express regret.
"I want to reach out to Conference USA and anyone else who is impacted by this and take full responsibility for this," Jeff Hammond told the blog. "This does not represent the state or university. This is not acceptable."
In the end, Kansas State beat Southern Miss 70-to-64. Rodriguez scored 13 points and had four assists.