Members of the Iowa band said they experienced and witnessed abuse by some Iowa State fans during Saturday’s game between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones.
Iowa won in the final minutes of the storm-delayed game when a punt bounced off an Iowa State player and was recovered by the Hawkeyes. It was after the end of the game when Corey Knopp told the Cedar Rapids Gazette that he was pushed by an adult Iowa State fan.
“A fan shoved me out of his way as we were marching in formation back to the buses,” Knopp told The Gazette in an interview. “He decided to cut through the band and shoved me out of his way. I yelled, ‘Do not put your hands on me sir,’ and he yelled back, ‘[expletive] you.’ ”
It was unlike fan abuse he’d experienced before.
“No fan has ever touched me, let alone pushed me,” Knopp said. “I was shocked he actually felt the need to do so.”
Another member of the band told the Gazette that she witnessed physical and verbal abuse from some Cyclone fans and that multiple members of the band have bruises — and one even has fractured ribs — from contact by fans and thrown items.
Athletic directors released statement Wednesday
The specificities come after a week of vaguely worded statements by administrators at both schools. On Monday, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta issued a very vague statement that referenced “inappropriate actions made toward student members and staff of the Hawkeye Marching Band.” When asked about Barta’s statement the next day, Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard said he was unaware of what Barta was directly referring to.
Wednesday, the athletic directors released a joint statement that referenced fan conduct in general and nothing specific from Iowa’s win in Ames.
“Both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are committed to providing a safe environment for everyone attending events on their respective campuses. This includes members of the school’s marching bands. Unfortunately, both the Hawkeye and Cyclone marching bands have been the target of unacceptable behavior at football games in Iowa City and Ames in recent years. Some of the conduct directed at the students in our respective marching bands recently has been rude, vulgar, and in some cases, violent. We should all feel embarrassed when students in the bands don’t feel safe when performing at an away game. Each of our athletics departments is committed to doing whatever is necessary to improve the environment for visiting school marching bands in the future. A significant part of the solution is insisting our fans help address this issue by showing more respect to our visitors. We owe it to these hardworking performers to have a safe stage on which they can showcase their spirit and talent.”
Iowa is off on Saturday while Iowa State hosts Louisiana-Monroe. Hopefully Louisiana-Monroe is treated with far more hospitality than Iowa band members allegedly received. Fans need to always keep in mind that it’s just a football game. Even if it’s against your hated in-state rival.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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