A video that made its rounds on social media earlier in the week has led to an apology from a head coach who some felt brought a lot of the controversy on himself.
Tuesday, prior to the results of the presidential election, members of the Louisiana-Lafayette football team were shown in a cell-phone video singing and dancing along to a song by YG and Nipsey Hussle called FDT (F–k Donald Trump). Head coach Mark Hudspeth addressed the controversy following the Thursday night win over Georgia Southern, labeling the criticism of his players “somewhat hypocritical” in light of the allegations leveled against President-Elect Donald Trump.
“But I will say this,” the coach said, “It’s also disappointing that so many people have vilified a few 19-year-olds making some immature decisions, and then they were the same ones that voted for someone that has done much worse by grabbing a female in the private areas for the office of the (President of the) United States of America.”
“And if they have never done anything that they were a little bit ashamed of when they were 19, then they can get in line to throw the first stone against our team.”
Boosters threatened to pull their financial support from the football program because of both the players’ actions and Hudspeth’s response, with one, who has been associated with the university for 40 years, saying “I don’t want to spend a dime if that’s the way they’re going to represent our university.” The boosters, whose construction company has been involved in renovations at the athletic complex, added that he and “hundreds of others” were prepared to shut off the financial spigot “if this isn’t properly addressed.”
“While I agree that no one should attack these kids for poor judgement (we’ve all made stupid choices) I am appalled at Coach Hud’s response where he puts partial [blame] on one political party’s supporters,” another one said.
In the wake of those threats and criticisms, Hudspeth released a statement Friday night in which he apologized for the behavior of his players and expressed regret for his initial handling of the situation with the media.
On Tuesday after practice, a video was recorded in our locker room and eventually shared on social media that shows individuals on our football team using obscene gestures and lewd language. I am disappointed by the actions that a few student-athletes demonstrated.
“The immature behavior of those individuals is not condoned by our program. It does not represent our entire team or the views of the University. We’ve disciplined four student-athletes and are taking steps to educate all of our student-athletes to prevent this from happening again.
“I apologize to our alumni, fans, supporters and the University, who deserve more responsible behavior by our student-athletes.
“I regret my response to a reporter’s question after last night’s game that may have offended some voters in the recent election.
Trump received nearly 60 percent of the vote in the state of Louisiana.