Barstool OSU, an unofficial Ohio State University sports website, came under fire over the weekend after posting an insensitive tweet that objectified women and demoralized Flint, Michigan residents affected by the water crisis, Reuters reports.
The site shared a photo of Ohio State University fans underneath a sign that read: “Michigan Girls: More Diseased Than Flint Water.” Underneath the photo, Barstool OSU posted the word, “Truth.”
Ohio State University and the University of Michigan prolonged their decades-long football rivalry on Saturday, November 26 when the two teams faced off on OSU’s turf. OSU won the game, 30-27.
Flint, a predominantly Black city, is still recovering from the adverse effects of an insufficient water supply––several residents reported chronic illness and bacterial infections (particularly in children) due to the high amount of lead found in the town’s Flint River water supply. The city’s water crisis began in April 2014, but was not acknowledged by public health officials until October 2015.
Several Twitter users slammed the offensive photo:
One of the most poignant responses came from Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny, also known as “Little Miss Flint.” Copeny tweeted an image of herself holding a sign in support of OSU and the victims of Monday’s campus attack, during which 11 people were injured. Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an 18-year-old student at OSU, drove his car into a crowd of pedestrians and attacked multiple people with a knife before he was fatally shot by a campus police officer. ISIS has claimed responsibility.
As of Wednesday, the offensive tweet remains on Barstool OSU’s Twitter feed.
Fans of Duke and Michigan State condemned a separate sign that also took aim at Flint’s water crisis, according to ESPN. A group of Blue Devil fans held a sign that read: “The water tastes better in North Carolina,” during a Tuesday evening basketball game between the two rivals. Representatives from both schools expressed remorse for the sign, calling the language “disgusting,” and “reprehensible.”
If this is how certain sports fanatics choose to express their fandom, they should focus their attention on something else. Flint’s water crisis is a serious ongoing public health concern, not fodder for sports events.
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