Officials from Southern Mississippi apologized to Kansas State freshman guard Angel Rodriguez and coach Frank Martin for a racist chant by the school pep band during a second-round game on Thursday.
Members of the Southern Miss band chanted “Where’s your green card?” as Rodriguez shot a free throw in Kansas State’s 70-64 victory over the Golden Eagles. Rodriguez, an American player who was born in Puerto Rico, said he accepted the apology.
“I heard it,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t pay attention to that nonsense, especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so we don’t need no type of papers. Their athletic director (Jeff Hammond) and personnel from their school came to apologize. I accepted it because there’s ignorant people and I know that’s not how they want to represent their university. I moved on already. I’ve got a game to focus on.”
Martin, the first person in his family born in the U.S., said he didn’t know about the chant until after the game. He applauded the Southern Miss officials for coming to the Kansas State team hotel personally and apologizing for the action of the pep band.
“I’m extremely thankful how they stood up,” Martin said. “Angel handled it probably a lot better than I would have when I was 18.”
— By John Grupp