Bob Stoops attends OU protest

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops and several Sooners players attended a protest Monday following the release of an online video depicting members of a university fraternity making racist chants.

The viral video, which surfaced Sunday, shows members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chanting a racial slur and indicating blacks would never be admitted to the fraternity. The chant also references lynching.

Stoops and multiple players were photographed attending the on-campus protest Monday morning. The longtime coach told the Tulsa World that he considers the video "appalling."

"It's sad the ignorance that can still be there with some people," Stoops told the Tulsa World. "It's just appalling.

"I was here to be with my guys. We all work with beautiful young men and women of all races. It's just -- very little gets me choked up. But that hurt."

Assistant football coach Mike Stoops, Oklahoma men's basketball coach Lon Kruger and approximately 100 athletes were at the demonstration, according to the Tulsa World.

"[The video] is something that should concern everyone," Kruger told the newspaper. "It's not about athletics. It's not about anything other than everyone being affected by this."

Sigma Alpha Epsilon has said that an investigation confirmed the contents of the video and announced it was closing the local chapter. University of Oklahoma president David Boren released a statement saying that members had until midnight Tuesday to remove their personal belongings from the fraternity house.

"These people have acted in a way that's absolutely reprehensible and disgraceful," Boren said. "Real Sooners are not bigots, racists."

The national fraternity released a statement Sunday night saying it was "embarrassed" by the "unacceptable and racist" behavior.

Numerous Oklahoma players, including Charles Tapper, Dakota Austin and Zack Sanchez, voiced their frustration over the video on Twitter.

Sooners linebacker Eric Striker posted a profanity-laced rant on his Snapchat account in response to the video and appeared on CNN to discuss it.

"(The video) was such a bad reflection on the people here," Striker said. "So many nice people, great people here ... and Oklahoma.

"We're here in 2015, I thought we were way past 'hanging from a tree.' It's sad to hear."

OU president David Boren, also appearing on CNN, said he was "angered, I was outraged, I was saddened."

"Because we've worked so hard to create a real sense of family and community on campus," Boren said. "And 99.9 percent of our students really care about each other, they really respect each other.

"Then to have a small group of people do that? It was unbelievable that this could have possibly occurred with OU students," Boren added. "Sooners are not racists, they're not bigots, they are people who respect each other and care about each other."

A link to the video was posted by OU Unheard, a black student group on campus, after someone anonymously called it to the group's attention, communications director Alexis Hall said Monday. It is unclear who recorded the video, when it was recorded and who initially posted it online.

A university police cruiser was parked Monday outside the fraternity house, a sprawling two-story, sand-colored brick building on a street lined with Greek houses just west of the center of campus.

The football team canceled its scheduled practice Monday. Instead, players and coaches held a short vigil inside the practice facility. The players, wearing all black, then left, walking in rows locked arm to arm.

Boren said "zero tolerance" is the only way to prevent such behavior.

Boren added they're examining the 1964 Civil Rights Act to determine if they can meet federal standard to prevail in court if OU takes action.

"If we can find out who's responsible we're going to do our very best to suspend or to expel under the federal law," Boren said.

The Associated Press and's Jake Trotter contributed to this report.

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