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Too soon for FAMU's Marching ‘100’ to return


Published: Sunday, April 8, 2012

Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012 14:05

Robert Champion

(AP Photo/Don Juan Moore)

In this Oct. 8, 2011 file photo, Florida A&M Marching 100 Drum Major Robert Champion performs during a performance at halftime of the game against Howard University at Bragg Memorial Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. Thirteen people were charged Wednesday, May 2, 2012, for their roles in the hazing death of Florida A&M university drum major who was severely beaten during a ritual, a prosecutor said.


Kethlene Jean-Jacques

When Should the Marching "100" Return?

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Everyone is familiar with the catchy voice of Joe Bullard that introduces the incomparable Marching “100.” Alumni, students and fans from all over fill seats at Bragg Memorial Stadium with flashy orange and green attire. Rattler pride seems to sway effortlessly from left to right and front to back during games.

The Marching “100” is undeniably great. It always seems to send a rush of rhythm into my body. The confidence the band has in the stands and on the field flows into my system while I cheer. I sometimes get so hyped that I think that I am one of the dancers with the glittery leotards.

Although it gets me fired up, the hazing of Robert Champion remains a fact. Six months ago, he, too, was part of the band that played such cool beats. On Nov. 19 after the Florida Classic in Orlando, Champion died as a result of what authorities are calling a hazing ritual. So far, Orange County officials are still investigating the case. Maybe the entire band didn’t haze him, but all members must face the consequences for the actions of a few. That powerful line from the movie Drumline, “one band, one sound,” definitely matches this situation. The band is a unit and must work as one. If one member falls, they all fall. I think the university is doing the right thing by suspending the band’s activities.

I am trying to picture how the stands will look when the Marching “100” isn’t there to play. The crowd usually dwindles immediately after halftime anyway. I can imagine how much Rattler pride will stand through an entire game without the band.

With or without the Marching “100,” our Rattler pride is what counts. This is the time that our fangs should be poised to strike. I hate when people say that the band is what makes this university.

It doesn’t. I’m sorry to tell you, but there are talented athletes who live, eat and sleep football. Many students work hard each and every day to continue building on Florida A&M’s great legacy. They too have worked all semester long to make big wins.

The band is not tackling, making touchdowns or catching outrageous passes.

Football players are. Other universities rarely count on its marching bands to bring in fans.

It’s sad that we do. Without a doubt, the Marching “100” is a part of FAMU’s history. But we must always remember that “when the dark clouds gather on the horizon… the rattlers will strike, and strike and strike again” whether the band is on the field or not.


Maybe the band will be ready to return to the field next spring. However, it’s just too soon to move on. 

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6 comments Log in to Comment

Wed Apr 11 2012 20:03
Based on my understanding of Robert Champion's death, he died as a result of a hazing ritual that he knew was illegal but decided to participate in anyway. Unfortunately he died from his injuries. To punish the entire band for the victim's bad decision would be wrong. Punish those involved and let the others perform. Sidelining The 100 for this upcoming football season will be a nail in FAMU's coffin. Lift the suspension, place the band on probation and let the performances begin.
Wed Apr 11 2012 19:12
I love the article. If you disagree with what she is saying their is a pretty red button that will happily make this article disappear. Keep on writing baby, I think ignoring the fact that a person is dead because of these ridiculous hazing rituals is a boorish act. "Do better". A fall off is not going to kill the history of the marching 100. If it was up to me i would say keep them out for aslong as they keep the "Kappas" suspended.
Wed Apr 11 2012 12:22
Wow, you're mad aren't you? First of all, I'm not a coward. And may I remind you, as I stated before that hazing has been a part of the Marching 100's culture and history for generations. It's sad that people like you are defending, with such passion, a horrible act that took the life of someone's child and nearly killed others. Is seeing a 15 minute halftime show THAT important to you? I'm not sure you're the one who SHOULDN'T be anonymous. The LEAST the 100 could do is sit out for the duration of the year. Robert Champion's parents will never get their son back. Again ,what's more important? And by the way, are you in the 100? Because if not, you have NO CLUE what you're talking about nor defending. I don't have to support anything with fact. The FACT is, I marched. That's enough. And you obviously haven't been reading anyone's newspaper. The facts that you're looking for are all there. It will SHOW YOU the history and culture of hazing via the Marching 100. It's strange that someone like me, who left because of hazing is villainized but you support an entire organization whose been beating people within an inch of their lives for generations. Standing up for what is right is hardly failure, nor is speaking out about it. And for the record, I'm not coming out of the woodwork. I'm responding to an article in an open forum just like you are. I don't think there's a disclaimer that says comments are only reserved for people who agree with you, does it?
Al Williams
Mon Apr 9 2012 13:42
To the cowards that post "anonymously", I will state again ...The Marching 100 should return today! May I remind you that only a hand full of people actually are involved in this crime, and the State of Florida will see to it that the Champion family receives justice, not the FAMUAN or anyone else. Although it is normal in any organization to have a brief suspension of activities during periods of investigation, the notion of mass punishment, that is punishing the other 270+ members for the actions of a few is ridiculous!.

Because of your anonymous cowardice your comments should be disregarded as the ramblings of the misguided fool you are! Your blanket statement on the "history" of the Hundred is totally unsupported by any facts, including your own efforts to stop or prevent any actions you claimed to have endured at the hands of EVERY 300+ band member you personally knew, in EVERY band section you personally participated in. I'm not surprised at people like this all of a sudden coming out of the woodwork, the "Shaking of the Tree" process tended to produce many people over the years extremely vindictive in their failure to be talented enough to secure a permanent position in the band. Every organization, every band, every sport, every club, every Fraternity, every Sorority, every branch of the military has people like this, the type that once they fail they will point the finger every where else except at themselves!

Mon Apr 9 2012 09:25
For those that don't know about the culture and history of the Marching 100, EVERY person whose been through the band has either hazed or has been hazed. It's a matter of choice if you choose to haze once you become an upperclassman. I think the 100 should sit out for the duration of the year. This cycle of hazing has been going on for far too long and it needs to stop. Bear in mind: being hazed is just as detrimental has hazing because it perpetuates the cycle of this ugly form of "initiation". Allowing the 100 to sit out for the duration of the year is MINOR compared to the life that has been taken and the countless other people who have been injured--and near death-- because of this ritual. EVERY 100 member needs to learn: the hazing, however you participate, needs to stop. Sit them out. Make them learn. Robert and the others who have suffered at the hands of the 100 needs some form of justice. This, written by someone who LEFT the 100 because of its hazing.
Mon Apr 9 2012 09:12
They should wait

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