At a game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Michigan State Spartans, a Duke fan held up a sign that read, "The water tastes better in North Carolina," alluding to the Flint water crisis, which has left thousands to live with the effects of lead poisoning, the worst of which effect young children and infants.
Never make a sign again, Cameron Crazy. pic.twitter.com/BjOv59UVS0— Joe Ovies (@joeovies) November 30, 2016
This isn't the first time sports fans have used the victims of Flint, Mich., as a joke. Ohio State students posed with a despicable sign that read "Michigan girls: more diseased than Flint water."
The teams responded to the insensitive sign spotted at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. MSU said in a statement to ESPN, "The sign was disgusting and a slam to those who are suffering in our state." However, they assured their opponents, "We understand the actions of an individual student do not reflect the beliefs of Duke University or its Athletic Department."
Cory Walton, a spokesperson for Duke University, also condemned the sign, saying, "Everyone in our program thinks the sign was reprehensible and disgusting. That's 100 percent not in line with the values of our program. Michigan State officials said the sign referenced a difficult situation for people throughout their state."
There has been no report of Duke identifying or pursuing disciplinary action against the student in question.
MSU's freshman guard, Miles Bridges, is actually from Flint, which inspired a Carolina alum to make a pledge on Twitter to donate to alleviating the Flint water crisis every time Bridges scores. Others were inspired to do the same.
The Flint water crisis is still unresolved more than two years later. The city's mayor, Karen Weaver, has extended the city's state of emergency, saying "The fact of the matter is we still cannot drink our water without a filter. That is why I have signed a declaration to renew the state of emergency in the City of Flint until the lingering issues have been resolved and the water is deemed safe to drink."
We can hope that the universities' statements will discourage students from making such offensive jokes at sporting events and that if the situation should arise again, that the schools will take disciplinary action against these tasteless jabs at suffering children and communities.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @blicqer