UCF apologizes for offensive Kent State-National Guard post

17:25 04.09.2023

The University of Central Florida found itself issuing an apology after a social media post during the team's season opener against Kent State sparked controversy. The post featured UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee on the sidelines at FBC Mortgage Stadium, seemingly talking on the phone, accompanied by the caption, "Somebody call the National Guard." However, what was meant to be a playful reference to a famous Shannon Sharpe moment from a 1996 Broncos game took a turn for the worse as it unintentionally evoked memories of the tragic events at Kent State over 50 years ago.

In 1970, during a time of heightened tensions surrounding the Vietnam War, the National Guard was deployed to Kent State's campus to handle student protests. Tragically, the troops ended up firing into the crowd, resulting in the death of four students and injuries to nine others. This incident sparked a nationwide student strike and remains a painful memory for many.

"While the post was supposed to reference the famous Shannon Sharpe sideline clip of him on the phone from a 1996 game against the New England Patriots," UCF explained in a statement to USA Today, "As soon as our staff was made aware of the unintended reference to the unfortunate event that took place at Kent State in 1970, the post was removed."

The university expressed their regret over the insensitive post and took immediate action to address the situation with their staff. Updated protocols have been put in place to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. UCF's Vice President and Director of Athletics, Terry Mohajir, personally reached out to Kent State's Director of Athletics, Randale L. Richmond, to apologize for the post.

Amidst this social media controversy, UCF's football team delivered an impressive performance on the field. The Knights dominated the Golden Flashes, securing a resounding 56-6 victory. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee showcased his skills, completing 22-of-30 passes for 281 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Additionally, Plumlee contributed with his legs, rushing for 90 yards and scoring one touchdown. The team as a whole amassed an impressive 723 yards of total offense during the game.

Last season, the Knights finished with a record of 9-5 and earned a spot in the Military Bowl, where they faced Duke and suffered a 30-13 defeat. With their strong start to the new season, UCF is determined to build on their success and make a mark in college football. However, going forward, the university will also be more cautious regarding their social media posts, ensuring sensitivity and thoughtfulness in their online presence.

/ Monday, September 4, 2023, 5:25 PM /

themes:  Military  War  Florida  Virginia

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