Watching the MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Sunday, it would appear to have been a picture perfect day for Florida A&M. The Marching 100 returned after a nearly two year hiatus, and FAMU defeated Mississippi Valley State 28-10 to start their season off with a win.
But controversy arose on Sunday. Not from the football team, nor the band, but the cheerleaders. ESPN commentator Jay Walker, a former Howard University quarterback stated that FAMU’s cheerleaders had “given up” in the second half. To counter that opinion, FAMU released a statement on Tuesday refuting that claim.
“Our cheerleaders never left the playing field, never waivered and certainly never gave up. Officials at the Florida Citrus Bowl placed a field-level thermometer on the artificial turf during the game, which read 143 degrees. The downside to artificial turf is it’s tendency to radiate heat, as it does not pass through as it would on natural grass.
“The FAMU sports medicine team in conjunction with cheerleader coaches Brandi Tatum and Felicia Barnes closely monitored the team, and ensured they remained hydrated during the game for obvious health safety reasons.
“We could not be more proud of the FAMU cheerleaders, as they performed like true Rattlers over the entire weekend. They performed at the Pep Rally at Downtown Disney and band showcase at Epcot on Saturday, as well as the game on Sunday. They were in step with our activities, and in our opinion, did a yeoman’s job of supporting our team every step of the way. Again, we want to say with finality, that that we are proud of our cheerleaders and they never waivered during the game on Sunday.”
As is the case these days, social media quickly picked up on the assertion that the cheerleaders had given up and the slander ensued.
ESPN announcers joked about the FAMU cheerleaders, but twitter took the clowning to another level. Field temperatures were 143 degrees.
— ChuckyT3 (@ChuckyT3) September 4, 2013
FAMU cheerleaders really gonna leave the sidelines at the start of the 4th quarter? LOL oh black people
— Dannell EllerBae (@dBdaSportsGuru) September 1, 2013
Once again, people can’t wait to take shots at HBCUs, whether they deserve it or not.