A Wisconsin fan’s racist costume during the Badgers’ game against Nebraska on Saturday night is causing outrage. The fan dressed like an inmate, put on a Barack Obama mask, put a noose around his neck, and held up an anti-Hillary Clinton sign. While the words on the sign are tough to read, it appears to start “What difference at this point does it make? Really Hillary??? Are your f-ing” before it gets blocked off by another fan.
Understandably, people were furious about the decision to let this fan into the game. Among the people who were angry was Nigel Hayes, the star forward for Wisconsin’s basketball team.
To their credit, the University’s official Twitter account handled this incident quickly, asking for the location of the fan before having guest services attend to the matter.
Wisconsin’s athletics account, meanwhile, wrote this incident off as a person expressing freedom of speech and noted that the fan removed their costume when asked.
This was also the statement used by Wisconsin’s main Twitter account for a little before they realized that writing this off as “free speech” wasn’t the best look.
There is, of course, a big difference between free speech and a person saying the President of the United States (or, really, anyone) should be lynched. Wisconsin deserves credit for dealing with this, but writing it off as a person taking advantage of the rights granted to them by the First Amendment isn’t good. Nor is the fact that, you know, someone was able to get into a football game dressed like this.
UPDATE: The person’s costume was a little more elaborate, as this video shows. In addition to wearing an Obama mask, the person had a mask of Clinton that they also put over their head. Additionally, a person wearing a Donald Trump mask was holding onto one end of the noose.