COLUMBIA, MO (KTVI)– They are some of the University of Missouri’s most rabid fans, an unofficial cheering section that’s been pushing the edges of good taste since the seventies. But now “The Antlers” are in hot water. They’ve been kicked out of Mizzou Arena for two straight games.
The Antlers have always been known for their chants. Over the years you’ve heard, “Scum, scum, scum, go back to where you’re from,” and “You doorknob! You gravy sucking pig!” They let loose with another seemingly innocuous Monday night.
“We do a chant we’ve been doing for fifteen years or so,” Antlers Grand Poobah Emmett DeLaney said. ‘Pelvic thrust, churn the butter, step to the left, cop a feel,’ and grab the guy next to you’s shoulder. And at that time they kicked us out.”
For the second straight home game, police escorted the group from their seats.
“It almost seemed like it was predetermined we were gonna be gone,” DeLaney said.
The reason for that was likely a meeting university officials called last week. There they presented DeLaney with a lengthy list of chants the Antlers had used in the last year which they found offensive.
From Saturday’s game with Southeast Louisiana came, “Raise your hand if you think Hurricane Katrina was a good thing.”
There was also a shout to an officials saying his eyesight needed “more help than the people in the Philippines.”
There were several more, most of which we could not broadcast due to their vulgarity, and the Antlers don’t deny making the statements.
“Unfortunately a lot of it yes, but it’s never going to be said again,” Delaney said. “None of it.”
Trouble is nothing new for the group. St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Jeff Gordon was a founding member when he was a student in 1976.
“Even back then there was pressure on us not to curse, and when you go after guys on the other team to try and be tasteful,” he said of the latest flap. “Over the years there have been incidents, some more serious than others, that have threatened the group with extinction. So in a sense it’s nothing new, but 2013-14 is different time than back in 76-77.”
So in the more politically correct present, the Antlers claim to be turning over a new leaf.
“We all came over to my house and had a gut check,” DeLaney said. “Is that where we want to go, and are we as creative people think we can do better than that? And we decided that we could.
He continued, “Hey, we’re under the magnifying glass right now and do what we wanted to do and improve our behavior because if we keep that kind of stuff up it’s a short season for us.”
Another Antler, Kasey Devine, promises the group will make it through the 2013-2014 basketball season.
We will make it through the season. Part of who the Antlers are is we are creative men, and we adapt.”
University officials did not return Fox 2’s calls Tuesday, but Athletic Director Mike Alden did address the issue with Columbia’s KMIZ and other media outlets.
“This is actually laughable to me,” he said, “but let me just say this: We have high expectations for our students and our staff at the University of Missouri. Our core values are respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence, and it’s critically important that we represent those values every day in everything we do.
“We just want to make sure that folks are representing the institution with class.”
Mizzou’s next home game is a week from Thursday. The Antlers say they will be there.