|Tyler Owens: Joke gone bad or racist? Seems like the students at Pace University can’t decide!|
You can only scratch your head and wonder with this one.
Or maybe not?
The captain of Pace University’s football team was kicked off the squad, after a shockingly racist picture of him, came from snap chat.
A screen cap of Tyler Owens, of Salem New Jersey, hit the Internet featuring him doing a Nazi salute, draped in a Confederate flag.
To take the racism up a notch, Owens allegedly captioned the image “The Grand Wizard” in reference to the Ku Klux Klan. It was first reported that the disturbing image was allegedly released by an ex-girlfriend of Owens, but she denies the allegations.
The tasteless picture soon caught the attention of several black students, who sent the images to the University’s student newspaper.
“As African-Americans and Pace University students we are extremely offended and believe something should be done about this,” students wrote to The Pace Chronicle in an email.
Pace University acted swiftly and canned Tyler Owens from the team. Prior to the incident, Owens had started every game and even amassed 72 tackles. A friend of Owens told The Pace Chronicle that the image was meant as a joke and that the Criminal Justice major had not meant to offend anyone.
There’s currently a debate raging over the age of the picture, which some have claimed is three-years old. His detractors deny the claim, saying they received it in real time via Snapchat.
“The photograph is highly offensive and contrary to the values of diversity, inclusiveness, and embracing the ethnic and cultural differences among students, faculty, and staff that are deeply held at Pace University and its Athletics Department,” Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman told the students in a letter.
“That is especially true at this time when states throughout the country are recognizing the symbolic offensiveness of displaying the Confederate flag and the importance of accepting those with different backgrounds is being sorely tested by the refugee crisis in Europe,” Friedman said. “The student involved is no longer serving as a captain of the team. He will not participate in University football activities pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Last week, the University hosted a forum where Black and Jewish students expressed concerns for their safety thanks to the casual attitude almost half of the students revealed in a poll about the matter.
The students are clearly divided on the issue and most think it’s just a joke gone bad according to the responses (as of September 14).
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the photos and noted the need for Universities to make sure their students are educated on racism, anti-Semitism “and the consequences of unchecked bigotry and hate.”
It’s just hard to fathom that in this age of technology, in addition to the fiery climate of race relations in the country, that this idiot didn’t know what message he was sending, or what the consequences of his actions would.
Yeah, it’s true that everybody makes mistakes.
But if this guy is responsible enough to be a leader on Pace’s football team, he should be man enough to take responsibility for his stupid actions, whatever the consequences may be.
Pace University is reportedly conducting an internal investigation into the matter.