Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Column: K-State apology sorry excuse for an apology


One of these centuries, people will realize that the cover-up and accompanying non-apology apologies are always worse than the original transgression.

Bad idea for Kansas State: Play a football game vs. South Dakota, and during halftime use the band to form the mascot of your in-state rival, not on the schedule until Thanksgiving weekend. Am I missing something, or has K-State not dominated Kansas in football for a long time now?

A bad idea, using another school’s mascot, but in and of itself certainly nothing over which to apologize.

Worse idea: Have a long appendage of the Starship Enterprise enter the open beak of the Jayhawk in such a way that most people looking at the diagram of the formation or at pictures or videos of it in action feel as if they are viewing a simulation of a mascot and starship having sexual relations, depending upon what your definition of that is.

Even worse idea: Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State, issued an “if anybody was offended” non-apology favored by modern-day politicians.

Worst idea: Schulz then used the university’s website to send a letter of explanation for why sanctions are being taken against the band and band president, a letter that could best be summed up in one paragraph. My words, not his: “Way to go! I’m only handing out sanctions because the Big 12 is making me do so or accept their inevitable penalties that would be greater.”

And, oh by the way: The sanctions are for using another school’s mascot, not for using it to pleasure a space ship.

The letter starts with praise of the band for winning a national award. Evidently, Schulz must not have congratulated the band for it yet. The first three paragraphs of the seven-paragraph letter tell the band how wonderful it is. The rest of it explains the sanctions and makes sure everyone knows it’s because the Big 12 commissioner had a problem with the use of the Jayhawk. Not the misuse, mind you, just the use. How absurd!

Modern-day apologies that come with qualifiers aren’t apologies. So don’t apologize if you don’t think your school’s band did anything wrong. And don’t impose sanctions and then say you disagree with them. Let the conference punish you.

In Schulz’s letter to the band, he said he implemented a $5,000 fine that he later Tweeted will be paid by the president’s office, not the band. The band director is suspended for the football game against KU in Memorial Stadium.

In the letter Schulz also let everyone know he loves social media, except when he hates it.

It seems to me a less “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” path was available for Schulz to take.

1 . Announce that he is embarrassed that a formation that only would have been fitting had the band been playing a Barry White tune was not in keeping with K-State’s recent sportsmanship pledge.

2 . Launch an investigation designed at coming up with the truth about whether the sexual image was accidental or intentional.

3 . Either way, issue a public apology. Fire the band director for missing what appeared obvious both in a diagram of the formation and in pictures of it after it was executed.

4 . Pay the band director a nice severance package, taken out of the massive donations sure to be made to the K-State band from both Missouri and K-State fans, in that order, for a job well done up to and excluding Saturday.

(As for any thought that KU played the role of Linda Tripp here and pulled strings to commissioner Bob Bowlsby to take action, that was not the case. Kansas vice chancellor of public affairs Tim Caboni tweeted as much and encouraged readers to confirm that with Schulz by tweeting Schulz’s email address.)

5 . Announce that the band would not be allowed to play in Lawrence this year. After all, what if the band members decide to do the exact formation in Lawrence as a means of bringing the level of hatred in the rivalry to near-Missouri levels?

I can’t see that happening. Cooler heads will prevail, and porn will be left to porn stars, who do their work with neither cover-up nor apology.


Kent Richardson 6 years, 11 months ago

"I did not have formational sex with the bird."

Joe Joseph 6 years, 11 months ago

I can't get enough of this story and all of the reactions to it. Hilarious!

Joe Ross 6 years, 11 months ago

Yeah I just read that letter and it was weak kool-aid. It reads just like Tom says: "I had to sanction the band because I had to but I still think you guys are AWESOME!"

Loved the last line of the article.

Chuck Woodling 6 years, 11 months ago

Terrific column, Tom. The band's intention is pretty clear because a real starship captain would have shot for the torso and not the beak.

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 11 months ago

In essence KState rolled its eyes as it punished itself so that big bad big brother would not intervene with a bigger punishment. Lame. I say the Big 12 still punishes them, and it is not because the Jayhawk was used, but because KState just doesn't get it. Last year it was the crowd after the basketball game, then a mascot this year. Smack them around a little bit, but then again they may like it, and ask for more.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 11 months ago

my favorite part of the letter was when captain kirk told the bands to ignore the rest of the letter.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

With a goal of becoming a less obnoxious human being, I had sworn-off social media, public posting, etc. Then, right when I think I'm out, they pull me back in.

This non-apology matches the non-apology issued when they bum-rushed Jamari, and triangulates nicely with Zenger's defense of his alma mater after the court-rush.

Two years ago, tired of hearing the stupid bell tolls playing on top of the band after a touchdown, I wrote a letter to the game-day manager (no response, of course) and copied the KU Band Director, Dr. Smith. I also asked Dr. Smith about the old tradition of the drum line performing for the students before the game, and whether that tradition could be reinstated. Dr. Smith responded, of course, with class. No surprise there.

So, this weekend, I wrote a letter to Dr. Smith asking that the KSU band not be invited to our game this year. I copied this letter to Dr. Zenger, who was busy crafting a defense of K-State.

I'm uncertain as to why we would have the KSU band in our stadium. Per Tom's points, the Starship Phallus was one thing. Forming the Jayhawk (the single best thing any of those kids will ever do in their lives) was another. But the topper is the b.s. coming out of the administration in the aftermath. You can always count on ksu to be...well...a bunch of purple pussycats.

So, fellow Jayhawks, I challenge you to do more than post on Tom's dead-on column. I encourage you to contact the athletic department and Dr. Smith to support the idea that we'll all be just fine without listening to the wabash cannonball all game long at the end of November.

There is only one collegiate marching band in this state that I ever want to see in Memorial Stadium: The Mighty Marching Jayhawks.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 11 months ago

Darn good comments Brett. I agree with many of your comments/analysis than any commie I know.

Looking forward to your BBall thoughts this season.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 11 months ago

So you think we Jayhawks should show no class ourselves...why???

Len Shaffer 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't think not inviting the KSU band is showing no class; I think it's them getting their just deserts for their pathetic actions.

Showing no class would be for the KU band to do something similar to what the KSU band did.

Randy Glenn 6 years, 11 months ago

If they HAVE to be invited to Lawrence...put the band at the TOP of the visitors section!! If we HAVE to give them time on the field....2 minutes would be enough!! Our band is good enough to out-shine them...Uptown Funk will Funk them up!! Rock Chalk!!

Jay Scott 6 years, 11 months ago

They'll love life in the Mountain West.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 11 months ago

Exactly - I've about had enough being the nurse maid to this petulant pest.

Tom Longhofer 6 years, 11 months ago

This must have been a huge embarrassment to Bill Snyder. I suppose he's already taken steps to have his name removed from K-State's stadium. (an exaggeration maybe, but NO sarcasm intended.)

Chris Bohling 6 years, 11 months ago

It's not an "acceptable" thing to do but the point is it was definitely an accident, worthy of a few laughs but not sanctions.

Mike George 6 years, 11 months ago

I disagree totally. The fact that the charicature of the Jayhawk was on the field was not an accident. Perhaps you don't understand good taste.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 11 months ago

The stunt itself was one thing. The letter from the KSU President sheds an entirely different perspective on the event itself and how those responsible should act. Keeg does a great job outlining this.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't know if it was an accident but it was worthy of a few laughs. I wonder what sort of response there would be if the object were a tiger instead of a Jayhawk.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

I love those hypotheticals - it's so much easier to cast dispersion on future activity rather than take responsibility on real life.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 11 months ago

Come on Brett, you know dam well we would all be having a good laugh.

Robert Brock 6 years, 11 months ago

Meh. K-State acting like K-Staters. It's what they do.

Dale Rogers 6 years, 11 months ago

I liked Keegan's Bill Clinton reference. :)

Chris Bohling 6 years, 11 months ago

I am a KU grad but also a former band geek and I gotta defend K-State on this one. The formation was ill-thought-out and the execution of the drill was poor in such a way that it looked like something else, but that sort of thing happens the first week. The proper response is for us to all have a good laugh about it, make fun of K-State on Twitter, and then go about our business.

Glen Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

I would have to disagree....... if they had botched the Jayhawk (which would be much harder with curves instead of straight lines) then I could see your reasoning. However, they did not botch the Jayhawk. I was in band as well and my Jr High marching band could have come closer to the formation they showed was "intended" than they did. If having our school mocked on a national stage like that is OK with you, then laugh away. I do not find it all that funny myself.

Joe Studebaker 6 years, 11 months ago

This whole situation would have been received better if kstate didn't apologize. Honestly it makes them look like it was intentional more so, than if it wasn't. But, this is the way of the... "uh oh, I offended someone". I'm a diehard jayhawk fan and I thought it was funny they would spend all that time to orchestrate the formation for this. Knowing they don't play us until late November.

Time to move on.

Brad Farha 6 years, 11 months ago

Spot on Tom. I admit I thought the band formation was funny albeit a bid sad, but it's the non-apology apology that is truly hilarious.

Steve Corder 6 years, 11 months ago

No reason I can accept that would allow the KSU band on our field at half time this year. That would be statement enough from the KU administration. But after a tepid apology and given the usual administrative response (KU & KSU), known as PC (aka: "cooler heads will prevail"), this will just go away.

Tom's a little fired-up on this one. Maybe our guys might remember come November.

John Fitzgerald 6 years, 11 months ago

Let the band come to Memorial Stadium. Lets just not give them a reason to play. They think it's funny to trash a University mascot, when they aren't even playing that team, all the while forcing a phallus looking object into it's mouth? It'll be funny until November when they step foot on this field. And then the smirk will be turned into an utter cry of fear when they visit Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas State University has just leaped it's way into the lead spot for the toilet cleaners of the conference. Good luck and God Speed, KSU, because you're going to need it.

Stephen Johnson 6 years, 11 months ago

Missouri wannabes. Has an inferiority complex ever been more obvious than K-states with KU? Most KU fans don't give KSU a second thought, but they do their best to try to get our attention.

Jay Hawkinson 6 years, 11 months ago

Oh calm down people. All I know is that I haven't heard anyone talking about KU's loss to SDSU, even K-Staters. Thanks for that, K-State band!

Mick Allen 6 years, 11 months ago

If it was merely a Star Wars theme, why didn't they use their opponent's mascot{ Bisons?] as the victim. As stated we don't play them until November. If we are not playing them that day, why does the Jayhawk even appear at halftime. Last night on the Jimmy Kimmel show the presentation was reviewed and both Kimmel and his crowd connected the dots quite easily and recognized what it was that was intended. Also as stated, based on rushing the floor of the basketball game in Manhattan last year and the -uck KU chant that resonated through the "Octagon of Doom" the whole second half, for them to say this was merely a mistake in the configuration of the display is ludicrous. Obviously the Sportsmanship pledge the students signed was quite ineffective. Their obsession with big brother is quite obvious and demonstrates their insecurities when compared to KU. I thought no other rival could generate the dislike I still feel for Misery, but my dislike for one pussy cat is now almost at the same level as the animosity I feel for the pussy cat who abandoned the Big 12. What goes around comes around. Tom's article expressed my feelings exactly.

Bob Reinsch 6 years, 11 months ago

Tom nails it. There is a big difference between the phrase "I'm sorry if you were offended" and "I'm sorry if I offended you". The first example is a dodge - the responsibility falls to the offended party, and there is no ownership of the action which caused the offense in the first place. In the second instance, the offending party accepts that they may not have taken all interpretations into account, which indeed was the case.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

And the band director's first apology stated: "I apologize that the formation was misinterpreted." Beyond being non-sensical, it's the same old - "I'm sorry.....but".

No one will nominate me for father of the year but one thing we always taught in our house was this: apologies don't come with "buts". Because then, they aren't apologies. Which is, of course, what this is.

Pete Owens 6 years, 11 months ago

I rarely agree with Keegan but he nailed this one. It is clear after this incident that KU owns not only the psyche of the students but they own the administration as well. Showcasing a Jayhawk in their first game, two months before KU and KSU actually play? Really? Their sophomoric idea embarrassed not only KSU but the entire state. Was it funny? Perhaps if you were a 14-year-old boy or Beevis and Butthead t was funny but it stooped fairly low in concept and certainly in execution. Moreover, Schulz continues to show himself a man of low character in his handling of sportsmanship issues and is perhaps Beevis or Butthead in disguise. I hope Zenger calls the incident what it was and stands up for the university for which he works unlike the Jamari incident.

Maitland Smith 6 years, 11 months ago

Great post... well the first five words were at least.

Mike George 6 years, 11 months ago

I would just like to add my disappointment and head shaking to those above. You have already expressed in detail what is wrong with the KSU administration's reponse. And I would also like to add my feeling that it is completely classless to have a charicature of your in-state rival's mascot on the field during the first halftime of the year against Little Sisters of SD. And I agree with those of you asking that the KSU band be banned from the game in November.

Dale Rorabaugh 6 years, 11 months ago

It goes beyond being sophomoric. I say its freshmonic.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 11 months ago

Rip your f###ing head off is sophomoric. That's high school sophomoric, not college.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

The fact that you can't see the difference between these two things pretty much explains everything.

Jayson Hawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Fitzy, I may be drunk, but at least my pair is still intact. Don't worry yours will drop eventually.

Glen Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

You're oblivious to real life, it's OK..... we understand that things such as respect, responsibility and class don't register in your mind. I can see that ignorance fits you well. It must be hard to determine on a daily basis who you'd like to put down each day to pump up your own fragile ego. Who cares that you're a Liberal? Does that make you feel like it grants you the right to be a punk to everyone else who doesn't "view the world" in your way? What does that have to do with how we feel about the disrespect displayed towards a University that we love?

Jayson Hawk 6 years, 11 months ago

I'll be happy to oblige, if I could only be so Pious as thee. As a one time Lawrence resident and long time Kansan, KU is no more classy than our neighbors to the west or any other school for that matter. I've had classy friends and family go to k-state and met many losers at KU. Rip their fing heads off, muck fizzou, we throw the goal posts in the Potters Lake after beating the little sister of the poor in football. Are these the signs of a "classy" university? Despite your nose being in the clouds, other then a Med school and a Law school, the only things separating KU from k-state is seventy miles. Glen, take your meds and in five years maybe you'll be laughing about this just as I am today or else you'll continue trying to meet some non-existent level of classiness for your University.

Glen Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

You may think it is funny.... I do not and putting people down for disagreeing with you seems just as silly to me as this scharade seems to you. To each their own. I think striving for a bit of class and respect would be a good thing, but apparently in this Liberal world that we live in (sense my sarcasm?)..... that's just not a big deal anymore to some of you. To me, all being a Liberal means is an excuse to be an arse hole to anybody and anything that you feel like without having to take responsibility for it..... Kinda like Kansas State in this instance. Maybe you should go cheer them on instead.

Arthur Hess 6 years, 11 months ago

Even if the KSU band had executed their performance correctly, I still do not understand why they would be having the Starship Enterprise flying into the mouth of a Jayhawk? This doesn't even make sense.

It seems to me they did perform this exactly the way they wanted to. Lame excuse from a lame president.

Jayson Hawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Agree totally, the Enterprise makes no sense. It would be one thing if the Jayhawk was fighting the mildcat, but the starship is a poor excuse for having a sexual organ enter the Jayhawk's beak.

Maitland Smith 6 years, 11 months ago

The halftime theme for the show was Star Trek/Star Wars. So the Enterprise being there makes all the sense in the world.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

So, why was there a Jayhawk? Did I miss the part where the Jayhawk kills Darth Vader?

Bryce Landon 6 years, 11 months ago

Just like the non-apology after their fans attacked our players and coaches in Bramlage Coliseum this past basketball season. The leadership at KSU has no stones and no integrity.

David A. Smith 6 years, 11 months ago

The best response to insecure antics would have been crickets...

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't think that KU responded - because we are now in the mode of letting the purple pussy-cats do anything they want anytime they want. In fact, didn't our own AD campaign for forgiveness when his own player got rammed from behind?

Todd Noelle 6 years, 11 months ago

There's an old saying: "Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence." Keegan is pandering to his readers by suggesting that a veteran band director with an excellent career and reputation would willfully organize a prurient sexually tinged show because . . . no motive. Dr. Tracz showed his diagrams and schematics, it's early in the year so the band doesn't march all that well, and a Star Trek-themed halftime show looks--if you squint--like a penis. Only after seeing it performed on the night of from that particular angle did it look at all inappropriate. But somehow, this is of the gravest importance and demands a full investigation and apology!

And on the point of "why would you have a Jayhawk in the show?" In that single scene, a narration goes along with the band's formation--it explains something to the effect of "and then, the Enterprise encounter's a scary space monster!" and show's a Jayhawk as that monster. It was a cute little joke for the fans poking a little harmless fun at a rival. Band's do this. Every day. All the time. Just because the band incompetently performed it and it ended up looking--if you squint--like a penis, doesn't means somehow that K-State was out of bounds for having a jayhawk in the show, or that it's bad taste, or something like that. Keegan and every KU fan who needs a distraction form their dumpster fire of a football team is embracing this humorous but harmless episode as some sort of grave insult. Get a life, get a grip, and save your indignation for something other than honest accidents.

John Boyle 6 years, 11 months ago

You are off on so many points that I don't know where to begin. So I won't.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

I love that he showed his schematics - I wonder when those were completed?

The Big 12 basically forced KSU's hand. KSU penalized itself. Shouldn't you be ranting at your own administration?

And, you are blaming the kids for failing in the performance?

And, I'm proud of our football team. They work hard, they wear crimson and blue, and they showed the common sense not to go to a dumpster fire of a university.

Todd Noelle 6 years, 11 months ago

I assume you're trolling but I'll entertain you. 1) Keegan says KSU should fire the band director--I'm ranting against him and the like-minded. 2) I imagine those schematics were completed so the band could practice the formations--several weeks or months before the show. Unless you think there are other, secret ones showing a massive space penis attacking a jayhawk that are being covered up--or that Tracz just yelled out to the several hundred member band "make like a big space peins" and they did it. 3) And a football player attending what is probably the worst major program in the country just screams of common sense--but I'm sure they'll be glad they didn't go to a cow college when they consider the relative value of their crappy social sciences degree to a KSU player's crappy social sciences degree.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 11 months ago

How about instead of acknowledging those people and giving them the attention they crave from KU, we just ignore them and not give them the satisfaction. KSU was trolling KU with that formation and all this attention is doing is feeding the KSU trolls. Denying them the attention they're craving is how to really tick them off while all the attention they're getting now is exactly what they wanted.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

Tell Jimmy Kimmel and everyone with a smartphone.

Really Aaron. Get real.

Micky Baker 6 years, 11 months ago

Bulletin Board material. Focus all energy on beating K-STate, and not just beating them, but humiliating them in November. Pull out all the stops. If we were to say get a 30 point lead, drive it to 50, and if it get's to 50 drive it to 70. Don't stop.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 11 months ago

You are all responding exactly the way they had hoped, by getting upset. It was just a joke, not a great one but not bad either. Don’t get mad, get even.

Maitland Smith 6 years, 11 months ago

A couple things:

John B., I would like to know a few points where Todd is off on. You don’t have to give all of them just a couple. I’m curious to know.

And Micky..... just stop.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

Great points. Well worth posting. Michael - meet Maitland - your future partner.

Micky: Good job.

Ryan Richey 6 years, 11 months ago

5-10 years from now we will be in the PAC, BIG or SEC and just laugh about how much little brother hates us. I hope they enjoy life in the left over conference.

Lauren Capps 6 years, 11 months ago

I had to create an account to say this to you- OH MY GOD dude we will never be in the SEC. That is a sick joke. Some guy in a Jayhawk shirt would show up for the SEC audition and get punched square in the nose for even considering showing up. You have to have a really, REALLY good football program to be in the SEC. Imagine us playing Bama for a second. Or any of those schools. Big 10 maybe, that'd be sweet for basketball. But we'd still be the laughing stock of football.

Anyway, this whole band this reminds me of when a little kid does the whole "I'm not touching you I'm not touching you" thing to his big brother. Solely to get a reaction. Childish.

B. Clay Moore 6 years, 11 months ago

Pretty telling that more KU fans are whining about K-State's band than discussing what's left of their football team.

Also pretty obvious who's feeling inferior to whom. I love it.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.