Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but there's something terribly unsettling on so many levels about the vile, vulgar and crude chant belted out by the student section at Saturday's Georgia-LSU game. The chant, for those who haven't heard, calls on the opposing team to perform oral sex on a tiger and ends with the "b" word often used to describe a female dog or unpleasant woman. It's the worst kind of taunting — the very opposite of sportsmanship. I know drawing moral lines and boundaries these days will get you labeled a prude or a kill-joy, but enough is enough. Words matter.
I can hear the arguments now. Fagan, who appointed you thought police? Free expression is what college is all about for students. But the LSU football experience at Tiger stadium belongs to all of us, even children. This is not about principled rebellious college students having the courage to defy PC culture. The chant betrays basic fundamental human decency and politeness. And it doesn't do much for the university's reputation either.
If students were truly standing up to the PC police, they'd dare to say things like men and women are different, or most cops aren't racist, or a man is not a woman just because he thinks he is.
The LSU band doesn't play 'Neck' at Tigers home games anymore, but the student section proved on Saturday that won't stop that well-known chant.
There was a time when the idea of using bawdy and racy language in front of women, children or in public was considered ungentlemanly, reserved for the unsophisticated and ignorant. We're so much more boorish, rude and uncouth than we once were. Things have changed dramatically since America first became a nation only 242 short years ago.
"The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it," President George Washington once wrote.
It's a good thing George didn't have a ticket to Saturday's game.
The reason you don't hear players taunting each other in such a demeaning way is because of the mutual respect most have for each other. Athletes at the college level, especially playing in the Southeastern Conference, have put themselves through years of hard work, training, and sacrifice to get where they are. They realize that it's the same for the guys lined up across from them. This is something some spectators in the foul-mouthed student section know little about.
Sports is its supposed to make you a better person, teach respect, love of team and self-discipline. It's not just about X's and O's; it's also about sportsmanship. The most successful coach of all time knew this well.
Warning, the video below contains vulgar language. Can't see video below? Click here.
"I had three rules for my players: No profanity. Don't criticize a teammate. Never be late, " said all-time winning NCAA and UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
At his news conference on Monday, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said he's no fan of the chant.
"It's not my business. It's not my decision. I love our fans. I love the tunes. I love all that stuff. But the words used, I would prefer those words not to be used," said Orgeron.
Saturday in Tiger Stadium is such a special, exhilarating and uniquely Louisiana experience. The pageantry, atmosphere, and sense of pride in team and state is unlike that at any other university. Tiger fans are known for their devotion, enthusiasm and loudness. We've earned the "Death Valley" reputation. It would be a shame if the vile chant also caused us to be known for unsportsmanship, immaturity and crudeness.
I know this column will result in two things happening. I'll get at least one email blaming all of this on Donald Trump. Secondly, others will claim I'm making a big deal out of nothing. But at some point, we're going to have to push back at the corrosion and erosion of basic decency in our culture.
I'm not arguing for passing laws prohibiting yelling obscene chants at LSU football games. But what I am hoping for is that those in the LSU student section will consider others, grow up, and stop acting like they're in junior high.
Email Dan Fagan at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanFaganShow.