A fan at the Wisconsin vs. Nebraska game yesterday wore a costume that was racially insensitive to the game. After the university became aware of the costume, guest services was dispatched and asked him to remove the offensive items at which point he complied.
The costume, which consisted of a mask of President Barak Obama, a black and white striped prison jumper and a noose made the rounds on social media outlets quickly during the first half of the game.
The University of Wisconsin has released an official statement regarding the offensive costume:
“During the first half of this evening’s Wisconsin football game against Nebraska, UW officials were made aware that an individual in the seating bowl had donned a highly insensitive and offensive costume. UW Athletics’ guest services staff were dispatched to the individual’s seating area where they asked him to remove the offensive components of the costume. He complied.
“UW Athletics’ policy regarding admission into the stadium with a costume stipulates that no one may be wearing a mask upon entering the facility. Once inside, it is permissible to wear a mask. The costume, while repugnant AND COUNTER TO THE VALUES OF THE UNIVERSITY AND ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT, was an exercise of the individual’s right to free speech. The university also exercised its rights by asking the individual to remove the offensive parts of the costume.
“UW-Madison is dedicated to promoting a campus environment where all people feel valued, safe and able to thrive. To that end, the university continues to encourage all of our community members to engage in discussion over vital issues in ways that promote greater understanding and respect for all persons.”
The costume, which was intended to be a political statement on the upcoming presidential election was completely misguided and poorly executed. Perhaps most concerning is the lack of concern by the people immediately surrounding the individual. The individual was not allowed to wear the mask entering the stadium, but once a fan enters they may put on their masks.