BOONE — Appalachian State University’s athletic department has denounced fans who berated Marshall football players as they walked off the field following App State’s 31-30 win on Thursday, Sept. 24.
“A video of (App football) fans displaying unsportsmanlike conduct has been brought to the attention of App State Athletics. We believe in sportsmanship and collegiality, and do not condone these actions,” the athletic department tweeted. “We appreciate the vast majority of (App State) fans who have created a terrific atmosphere at the last two home football games.”
In two videos posted on Twitter by SidelineSass Podcast host and sports reporter Emily Van Buskirk, fans wearing App State clothing can be seen leaning over the railing above the entrance to the tunnel next to the south end zone yelling expletives at Marshall players and giving them the middle finger as the players headed back into their locker room.
The two videos quickly earned more than 300,000 combined views as of publication and can be found at www.twitter.com/Emilnem/status/1441240979772612608.
Senior Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications Joey Jones said in a statement that any student found exhibiting behavior in violation of the university’s Code of Student Conduct is subject to disciplinary action.
“We continuously review the best practices for visiting team entrance and exit and fan proximity, and are enhancing our fan education program to encourage a positive game experience for everyone who comes to Kidd Brewer Stadium,” Jones stated. “Any students found to be in violation of the university’s Code of Student Conduct are subject to disciplinary action.”
Jones added that incidents regarding students who may have violated the Code of Student Conduct can be reported to the school directly at studentconduct.appstate.edu/pagesmith/15.
Among those to see and respond to the videos was former Mountaineer and current NFL running back Darrynton Evans, who noted that abuse like what was shown in the videos is nothing new for athletes.
“Yes, clearly the fans need to do better. But there is nothing that holds the fans accountable or protecting athletes,” Evans tweeted. “We know from experience it’s like this every week on the road no matter what team you’re playing. From racial slurs to items thrown at players and family. Do better!”
ESPN college football analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit also reacted, denouncing the fans’ actions and calling for more accountability.
“In this era, it’s paramount that (athletic directors) and their stadium staff and security make people like this pay for their actions,” Herbstreit tweeted. “95 percent of fans are incredible and 5 percent of every fan base can ruin an experience. Hold them accountable!”