It’s been a rough few weeks on the field for Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns, but now he also has to answer off-field concerns.
Tom Herman said Monday that the players will be “encouraged” to stick around for the postgame playing of “The Eyes of Texas.”
This new controversy is back in discussion following Texas’ 53-45 loss to Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry on Saturday when QB Sam Ehlinger was one of a few players who stayed on the field for the school’s alma mater.
Herman addressed the media on Monday with his personal, prepared notes and said that players and coaches would be asked to stay on the field and recognize their fans in the stands. But Herman made sure to say that those players who did not feel comfortable doing so will still be allowed to leave.
Herman specifically said, “There are very strong emotions on both sides. This is something we’ve been working through since our campus initiatives were announced back in July. As a football program, we’ve discussed this and will continue to. I’ve encouraged our staff and team to join me in participating after games if they are comfortable doing that. I do believe it’s important that we acknowledge and thank our fans after a hard-fought game.”
With the social justice conversation being front and center in recent months, Texas announced over the summer it planned to keep “The Eyes of Texas” and that it will still be sung as the school song. However, the field at Darrell K. Royal Stadium will be renamed for Black Heisman Trophy winners Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams, plus Julius Whittier, the first Black football letterman at the school, will be getting a statue at the stadium.
The song has come under scrutiny as it was performed at minstrel shows by performers in blackface during the early 1900s. Former Texas defensive lineman Sam Acho had tweeted that “most Black players hated singing that song.”
Regardless of how you may feel, we can all agree this is the last thing the Texas Longhorns need to be dealing with right now as they’re also in the middle of a two-game losing streak and in danger of the season slipping away before we get to November.
Texas hosts Baylor next weekend with a 2:30 p.m. kick off.
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