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Ole Miss investigates 'hate speech' at play

JACKSON, Miss. — A University of Mississippi professor says that a group of Ole Miss students, including football players, disrupted a production of a campus play with "hate speech" on Tuesday night.

Michael Barnett, the assistant theatre chair, said that several students told him that audience members were disruptive and used "derogatory terms" for homosexuals during a production of The Laramie Project.

Coach Hugh Freeze confirmed Thursday that football players were in the crowd. Barnett says a group of players apologized after the play.

"Several of the students said they did not feel the apology was genuine," Barnett said. "They seemed to feel that (the football players) didn't realize what it was that they were apologizing for."

Chancellor Dan Jones and athletic director Ross Bjork said in a statement "we strongly condemn the behavior exhibited." The statement said the incident included freshman athletes from several sports and it was "clear that some students badly misrepresented the culture of this university." The school is investigating.

The Laramie Project is about reaction in the city after the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay man in Wyoming.

"The most concerning part was the hate speech that was used," Barnett said. "We've come a long way at the university. But there is still a ways to go."

Service academies: Football is on for Army, Navy and Air Force this weekend, the Defense Department said, although other service academy sports remain suspended because of the government shutdown. According to Navy's website, 19 events, such as soccer and swimming, were postponed or canceled. Navy and Air Force will play football because the game is not funded by the government. Army will play its game at Boston College.

Alabama: The school placed assistant strength coach Corey Harris on administrative leave for lending money to suspended defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Tuscaloosa News reported. Clinton-Dix has been suspended indefinitely for violating unspecified team rules. Harris was also found to have a connection to an agent.

Texas 31, Iowa State 30: Case McCoy scored on a 1-yard run with 51 seconds left and Anthony Fera kicked the extra point as the Longhorns (3-2, 2-0 Big 12) rallied past the host Cyclones (1-3, 0-1), who dropped their 11th straight conference opener. McCoy threw for 244 yards, driving Texas 75 yards, aided by two pass-interference penalties.

Basketball: Suspended senior guard Scottie Wilbekin will be allowed to rejoin the Gators when practice begins Oct. 11. He has been suspended twice since November for violations of team rules.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Ole Miss investigates 'hate speech' at play 10/03/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 4, 2013 12:05am]

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