UPDATED 8/31/14 6:14 p.m. – One of the Oklahoma State University students who was photographed holding on to a “Trail of Tears” banner that went viral Saturday has issued an apology, according to TulsaWorld.
The banner was one of many shown at ESPN’s College GameDay in Fort Worth, Tex., where OSU lost to No. 1 Florida State.
The sign read “SEND ‘EM HOME #TRAIL_OF_TEARS #GOPOKES.”
Here is an excerpt from one student’s statement on tulsaworld.com :
“My name is Austin Buchanan. I am a junior at Oklahoma State University, having transferred last spring. Today was my first football game as an OSU Cowboy, so I am obviously new to OSU’s game-day traditions. In my zeal to support the OSU Cowboys in their season opener against the Florida State Seminoles in Dallas today, my friends and I made a banner. I appeared in a picture with that banner, which I shared via my Twitter account. Included on our banner was a hashtag insensitively referencing the Trail of Tears. The Twitter post and picture were retweeted and shared by many, eventually going viral.
Though we did not set out to hurt or offend anyone when we made our banner, I see that it did just that. Referencing the Trail of Tears in such a flippant and disrespectful manner was insensitive and wrong, and I make no defense for our having had such a lapse in judgment. I apologize for our mistake. I am truly sorry.
To all Native Americans: I hope you can and will forgive me for diminishing a part of your history that should never be made light of. I pledge that I will invest diligent study reacquainting myself with the horrors of Trail of Tears so I don’t repeat the mistake I made today.
To the entire OSU family of administrators, students, student athletes, alumni, and fans: I embarrassed us today. I am sorry, and I hope you, as well, can forgive me. I love OSU. I want to contribute to, rather than take from, OSU’s positive image in the world. Today I failed in that effort. I promise to do better in the future.”
The game day sign, originally posted to social media, has captured the attention of millions.
The sign reads: “SEND ‘EM HOME #Trail_OF_TEARS #GOPOKES.”
OSU officials tweeted a statement early Saturday morning regarding the controversial sign.
The university originally favorited the tweet but later said they missed the hashtag and asked for it to be removed.