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The Antler Outrage

Sarah Dettmer

As far as sports fans go, The Antlers are some of the most dedicated and outrageous men ever to cheer on their team. They are wrought with a rich history that has built a tradition of Mizzou Arena being a notably hostile environment for opposing basketball teams to play. It should be a point of pride to have a group of fans so dedicated to their team that they, as the great Norm Stewart himself has said, count for at least 12 points every home game. Taunting is a part of college sports. Love it or hate it, you arent going to change it. However disgusted it may make visitors unfamiliar with the group, The Antlers serve their purpose and they serve it well. There is no denying The Antlers cross lines and offend on multiple levels, but isnt that the nature of the game? To push and push until you have reached the limits of whats acceptable, and then push some more? The players down on the court are doing it. For every penalty there are easily 15 more that have gone unpunished, and even after theyve been caught and penalized, will they stop? No. They are down there to win the basketball game. The Antlers do the same in the stands, stretching their leash as far as the University will let them. However, the leash has become a short noose around their necks. On Friday, a group of administrative delegates met with the current leader of The Antlers to discuss complaints raised against the group. Emails from angry attendees, the Antler nicknames printed on the backs of their jerseys, traditional Antler chants and the Antler Twitter feed were all cited as proof that the brazenness of the group has officially gone too far. But all of this raises an important question, not one about sportsmanship or class, but one of accountability. What has happened to personal accountability? For every email received from an appalled parent who had to cover their childs ears whenever The Antlers began a chant, where is your accountability as a parent? Why would you seat your young child in a collegiate student section? The student section is meant to be loud and crazy and filled with college students. These must be the same parents who bring their 3-year-olds to midnight movie premiers and then complain about being shushed when their cranky child acts up. Please do not forget where you are going. Their nicknames, their chants, their tweets are all geared to their audience and to their players who are all fellow college students at a college basketball game. If these were high school games, it would be a different story. It was also brought up in this meeting that The Antlers are exclusive and not culturally diverse. Pick a fraternity, any fraternity and compare them against The Antlers for diversity. Ask the Jewish Antlers, ask the Mexican Antler, the Black

Antler, the half-Black-half-Asian Antler, the Antlers attending Alternative Spring Break, the Antlers in fraternities, the Antlers in ROTC, the Antlers in honors fraternities, the Engineering majors, the Journalism majors, the Computer Science majors, the 4.0 Antlers, the ex-military Antlers; ask them if theyve ever felt discriminated against. Person for person, The Antlers are arguably the least discriminatory group on campus. Men and women of any race, religion, political background, or what have you, all have equal opportunity to try-out and be accepted into the group. Saturday during Mizzous home game against Gardner-Webb, after having ducttaped over their Antler names, changing their chants and amending their material, The Antlers were escorted out of Mizzou Arena and had their drivers licenses and student IDs taken by the police for chanting, Scum, scum, scum, go back to where youre from, when the opposing team entered the arena. Of their chants, this is one of the mildest. Mike Alden has made it clear he has had enough of The Antlers and is not willing to negotiate. While I do agree there are times where lines are crossed and reprimanding is reasonable, I will always be behind The Antlers 100% for what they bring to the Arena and to our basketball team. The Antlers show up the earliest, stay the latest, always wear their golden As and are undisputable the loudest students at the game. They do not swear. They never sit down. They are the life-blood of Mizzous student section. To lose The Antlers would be to lose the truest fans of the team and leave only spectators in the stands.