Antlers Guided Back To Creative Ways
COLUMBIA - They scream, they yell, they act silly, and they're not afraid to let the refs know how they feel.
They are the Antlers, a student group not supported by the university. Their purpose is simple: attend Mizzou Basketball Games and act enthusiastic. There's no grey area.
"Being embarrassed isn't a thing. You go out every home game with 18 of them and act like an idiot. You have fun with all your friends. You just got to be willing to put yourself out there and be creative" Antlers President Emmett Delaney said.
"A student group, that is the bread and butter of fandom, at Mizzou" Former Antler John Martin said.
Creativity is what the group built itself on close to forty years ago and made the group well known throughout the college basketball world.
"They had a reputation that if you go to play at Missouri you're going to face a prominent fan group that gets after the other team" MU Athletic Department Spokesperson Chad Moller said.
But these superfans faced scrutiny for some flowery language used earlier this season in November.
In a game against Gardner Webb, the Antlers were kicked out for saying, 'Scum, Scum, Scum go back to where you're from', repeating that three times, and ending with 'and cry.' However, the event staff gave them no response when asked why they were getting kicked out and escorted down the ramp and out the back of Mizzou Arena.
"It's what made the next game so hard, like they wouldn't tell us exactly what it was that got us kicked out, it was just kind of our assumption" Delaney said.
A document released by the athletic department lists some chants said during two games before the ejection, along with go to chants that antlers have said. No where does it mention the scum, scum, scum chant.
"It's a 25 year old chant, every game, every time, why was this game singled out? Why, just now is this a problem?" Martin said.
"I think, should something have been addressed earlier? I think that's a good, fair question. I will say things have been addressed earlier, throughout the year," Moller said
The athletic department says it received complaints about the Antlers.
"I think our society now is different now than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago. The tolerance and intolerance is a much bigger deal than it probably was back when they got their group started. What's acceptable and what not is just different" Moller said.
Moller says he fears children imitating the Antlers.
"You don't want you kid to show up to games and come away thinking, I don't want my kid to hear that." Moller said.
"But that's been the same environment for 40 years, and it works" Martin said.
The Antlers say they've changed, and they say it's for the best.
"It's kind of sparked some creativity in the guys. They've cleaned up their act and it's been funny, wittier jokes" Delaney said
"It's sad it took two games getting kicked out to do that, but i think we'll be hard pressed to get kicked out of another game" Current Antler Julian Vizitei said.
"Pushing us back to our creative spot we haven't toned it down. We've just gotten more creative."