I’ve received a few e-mails asking about my take on the whole Rutgers fan story. On the remote chance that you haven’t heard, there have been several reports from the game of off-color chants directed towards Navy players and coming from Rutgers fans, the student section in particular. I think it’s unfortunate, but it probably wouldn’t matter what team was playing in Piscataway that night. I don’t feel like Navy was singled out. This isn’t the first time that a few Rutgers fans have been mixed up in controversy. This incident has gained more widespread attention, though, because many people hold service academies in particularly high regard. Rutgers officials have issued apologies to their Naval Academy couterparts. With that, I feel the issue is more or less closed.
I didn’t write about it because I don’t take it personally as a Navy fan. Like I said, I’m pretty sure that the subsection of Rutgers students starting these chants would do so regardless of what team was visiting that night. I don’t see this as an “insult to the Naval Academy” issue as much as I see it as an issue for Rutgers to decide what kind of image it wants to project to the rest of the world. I’m sure it is true that things like this happen at games across the country. However, that doesn’t make it right. It can be stopped if a school’s administration really wants it to. It might happen at several schools, but not every school. Rutgers will have to decide the side with which it would like to be counted. I know which side’s schools I’d want Navy to be associated with on the gridiron.
The chanting isn’t nearly as offensive as Schiano padding Ray Rice’s stats by leaving his starters in and running for a TD on 4th down with 2 minutes left and the game already determined. I hope the team remembers that next year in Annapolis.