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KU fans decry abusive treatment from USF fans
Posted Sep 17, 2008 by Brett McMurphy
Updated Sep 16, 2008 at 11:45 PM
While warming up before Friday’s game against Kansas, University of South Florida QB Matt Grothe noticed a USF fan screaming derogatory slurs at the Jayhawks cheerleaders.
“I didn’t appreciate it,” Grothe said. “Some idiot of ours, every time a [KU] cheerleader walked by, he yelled ‘[sexual slur]’ over and over to each and every one.
“Yelling at a cheerleader? Those poor girls don’t know why they’re getting yelled at. It’s like me going up to that guy’s mom and calling her [that]. Is he going to like that? They should just be happy with [us] winning games.”
Apparently, winning isn’t everything. And, unfortunately, what Grothe witnessed wasn’t an isolated incident.
It was among several examples of abusive, profanity-laced verbal attacks and intimidation of KU fans before, during and after the game.
Pat Porzelt, a 1987 KU graduate, was part of a group of 12 Jayhawks fans at the game. She has been attending games for more than 20 years.
“That,” she said, “was the worst experience I’ve ever had.”
Porzelt, 44, said she realizes when on the road she will receive some harassment. But, she said, this was different.
Walking through the Raymond James Stadium parking lot, a USF fan she estimated in his 30s raced from his tailgate party to confront her.
“He sticks his finger in my face and says, ‘Go home, you [expletive] Jayhawk [expletive],’ she said. “I expect to hear profanity, but it was the in-your-face hatred behind it that was different than any other stadium I’ve been at.”
Porzelt certainly wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
She said the treatment she received from fans during and after the game wasn’t much better.
What’s ironic is that USF just started a “Respect-A-Bull” campaign, asking USF fans to show “pride, sportsmanship and honor.”
“Visitors should be complimentary of the treatment and respect they receive from our fans,” USF President Judy Genshaft said. “USF is on the national stage, and we want those who attend our games to enjoy USF’s hospitality as a community that is welcoming and respectful of our guests. We want our guests to leave with a good experience and see USF fans as national role models.”
That wasn’t the case Friday. There were 64 ejections, the most for a USF home game, and nine arrests.
Eric Morton, 34, a Kansas fan who lives in Tampa, said he didn’t experience any physical abuse, but “the verbal abuse made you feel uncomfortable. A lot of young people getting in your face screaming, ‘Get the [expletive] out of our house.’”
KU alum Brent Kassing, 39, of Winter Park, attended the game with his cousin’s family. In all, they had five children ranging in age from 4 to 15.
“I must have heard ‘[expletive] you!’ about 200 times,” said Kassing, who complained to USF officials in an e-mail. “It was a terrible environment. I had never experienced that at an away game.”
Greg Morgan, USF’s student body president, said Bulls fans must be considerate of visiting fans. “At some point of being a gentleman, someone has to stand up [to the abusive fans] and say we don’t condone this type of thing,” Morgan said. “USF fans have to be accountable for other USF fans.”
USF, UA finalize deal: USF and Under Armour finally signed their five-year deal, which had been in place since November, on Tuesday, making UA the official outfitter of USF athletics. The deal will pay USF $1 million over the life of the contract and provide $1.2 million in apparel for USF’s football, baseball, softball, soccer, golf and tennis teams.