Many of those so-called Rattler fans were doing much more than cheering at Florida A&M University’s Homecoming football game.
As an alumnus of FAMU, this was the first Homecoming football game I attended since my freshman year, and on Saturday I was embarrassed to be called a “Rattler fan.”
In an article headlined “Law enforcement can take a break” from the Oct. 29 issue of The Famuan, the author wrote, “Let us not talk about how police officers are dressed during the Homecoming football game. One would think they are going to fight a war; police officers are dressed in uniforms that consist of a bulletproof vest, black combat boots, and a clear helmet that covers their face. When they are dressed in such a manner, I assume they already think a lot of black people are lacking home training and are going to start fighting.”
Not at all attacking the author of that article, but those words now seem like less of a complaint and more of a prediction.
After the band predictably went over the allotted time in its performance, the North Carolina A&T football team refused to clear the field to allow the band to pass in its departure formation. The band took the higher road and went around the players.
Joe Bullard then ignited the crowd by announcing, “That’s OK A&T, we will go AROUND you.”
Someone in the stands then felt the need to punctuate that statement by throwing an empty water bottle at the North Carolina A&T football team.
In an instant, debris of water bottles and trash was tossed at the team in the most classless display of team support I have witnessed from FAMU fans.
Most disappointingly, some fans were throwing the Rattler noisemakers, distributed prior to the game, at the opposing team. The ultimate symbol of Rattler pride was reduced to a weapon in an immature display of anger.
Homecoming is supposed to be a time to bring families together, and I felt so bad for the children in attendance that witnessed adults acting so foolishly.
I only hope that the those children were accompanied by parents who had sense enough to tell them that only fools would throw something on the field, and that “I didn’t raise no fool.” But being realistic, I’m sure that some of the people who threw objects were parents.
Perhaps the ugliest scene to ever take place in professional sports happened at the Palace of Auburn Hills in November of 2004, when members of the Indiana Pacers ran into the stands and began engaging fans with their fists.
Anyone who remembers that incident knows exactly how it started – by a fan throwing a cup on a player.
So it unfortunately appears that the police officers dressed in riot gear were in appropriate attire after all.
It also appears that we once again have proved them right, because as the aforementioned article states: “…they already think [we] are lacking home training…”
Chris Osborne is 2005 graduate of Florida A&M University from Irvington, NJ. He can be reached at Cosborne29@earthlink.net.