Penn State fans at Rutgers University on Saturday were met with more than the average trash talk by some Scarlet Knight fans — and not just sour grapes from the last-minute loss to the Nittany Lions.
On Monday, athletic director Julie Hermann apologized for the Rutgers supporters.
“On behalf of Rutgers University and the athletic department, we would like to apologize for the regrettable actions of a handful of Rutgers fans on Saturday night that do not convey the message of good, competitive spirit that we look forward to having with our new Big Ten rival Penn State University,” she said. “Some of the signage and T-shirts that we have been made aware of were both inappropriate and offensive.”
Those shirts and signs referenced the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. There were banners with graphics that suggested molestation. Shirts showed a Penn State-style logo with a pedophilia-related bear mascot in place of the Nittany Lion. Penn State fans on social media have said they were subjected to more insults from Rutgers fans, including being called rapists and pedophiles.
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“I have spoken with and apologized to the Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and I would like to apologize equally to the Penn State University fans, as well as the Rutgers fans that were subjected to this classless display that does not represent the ethos of our university, athletic department or fan base. The two inappropriate pictures that appeared briefly on our Facebook page as part of a 200-picture montage were immediately removed when we were alerted to their content,” Hermann stated.
The pictures showed fans in the questionable shirts.
“It is unfortunate that the actions of a few spoiled an otherwise historic and record-setting night that Rutgers fans provided for our first Big Ten football game,” Hermann said.
Penn State’s athletics department declined to comment.