A BYU fan decided to be cute at the team’s home game against Mississippi State last Friday with a sign that mocked the Bulldogs with a gay slur.
“You can’t say Mississippi without saying ‘sissy,’” the sign read.
See what they did there? Genius. They took the “sissi” in Mississippi and used it to say “sissy.” Ha! As we all know, “sissies” are weak and certainly can’t play football! Ha ha ha. Oh, that’s such a good one.
Strange that the “sissies” were able to take the Cougars to double overtime. On the road. It’s shocking, just shocking I tell you, that stadium staff allowed the sign into the stadium.
The sign was, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, broadcast on ESPN for eight to nine seconds.
It’s another black eye for BYU, whose anti-LGBT religion policies barring homosexuality and banishing gay people to a life of chastity have come under more scrutiny as the school was being considered to join Big 12 football (which won’t now be expanding).
For ESPN, it’s the second time we know of this season when the network broadcast an anti-LGBT sign. On Sept. 10, GameDay showed a sign in the background that used Caitlyn Jenner to mock an opponent. Virtually no one noticed, which is odd since it went viral placed right next to the now-infamous “mom send beer money” venmo sign that got so much attention.
ESPN’s Keri Potts, who works with GameDay, told Outsports she hadn’t even realized the Jenner sign was on-air. She described a system of sign review that includes hired ESPN staff, local police and security. ESPN stays on top of the latest trends, sometimes Googling words on signs that may elude an older-than-college security crowd. Potts said while they are diligent, they don’t catch every offensive sign.
“I used to see signs that said, essentially, an opposing team's big player pees sitting down, of course trying to insult them by saying they are like a woman,” Potts said. “Those aren’t allowed anymore. We are trying to get better.”
No doubt it’s a tough task for ESPN producers. And if we notice two anti-LGBT signs in a football season, given the creativity with which students design these messages, maybe that’s a good percentage.
Still, we hope the network that continually aired audio of Mexico fans chanting a gay slur during the 2014 World Cup will figure out how to curb more of these