Cornell football coach apologizes for tweeting sombrero photo
- Roy Istvan, Cornell Football’s offensive line coach, was forced to issue a public apology in response to student outrage over a picture he tweeted showing two players wearing large sombreros.
- Istvan said he regrets his "cultural insensitivity," but explained that the team awards sombreros to "team members who represent the best teamwork and winning spirit on and off the field.”
A Cornell University football coach has been forced to issue an apology for the “cultural insensitivity” of tweeting a photo of two players wearing sombreros.
Cornell Football’s offensive line coach Roy Istvan came under fire for a tweet sent out Tuesday morning, now deleted, captioned “Eman & Fosta! THE BIG SOMBRERO!” with a picture of two football players each wearing a big sombrero.
The University retweeted Istvan’s tweet, and Istvan later apologized for the photos over Twitter when the attention sparked outrage among students.
“I am truly sorry for the cultural insensitivity and understand how our expression of pride came at the expensive of others in the Cornell community,” Istvan said in a Tweet.
Ivstan also explained the original pictures in another tweet, saying the hat is awarded to “team members who represent the best teamwork and winning spirit on and off the field.”
MEChA de Cornell, a Mexican heritage student group, posted the tweet on its Facebook page. Many students expressed outrage.
“What is your [the Student Assembly’s] response to this? So many of your fellow students’ culture is being used as a prop consistently on this campus and it is supported publicly by this university. Will you pass a proposition to recommend a faculty/staff diversity and cultural sensitivity training? Or will you just push it under the rug as you did the Cinco de Octubre event? I expect a response to this from the Minority Liaison.” – Silvia Treviño
“There’s legit like dozens and dozens of designs of hats in this world. I feel like a crown makes more sense. A fancy top hat. Like. Why a sombrero?” – Barbara Cruz
“They’re appropriating a culture that isn’t theirs and using it as a joke. It’s disgusting and I’m ashamed that you can’t see that.” – Sarah Zumba
Other commenters did not buy into the tripe.
“If I am having sushi tonight do I need to consult the SA [Student Assembly] for permission?” – A Cornell student
“I really don’t see anything offensive about this at all. There’s no attempt at being mean or aggressive towards any other culture. They legitimately put a sombrero on, smiled for the camera, and that was it. I don’t see them defacing a sombrero, or burning it, nor do I see any comment against any culture whatsoever.” – Robert Yang
“I’m a Mexican from El Paso, Texas, and currently a Cornell football player. I am having trouble seeing how this in any way is so offensive, if I showed this picture to my family in Mexico they would certainly laugh and be excited that our team incorporates a part of the Mexican heritage in celebrating our player awards. This is being blown up by sensitive people on social media who aren’t even of relevance to the Mexican culture.” – Gustavo Dorsett
This isn’t the first time Cornell’s athletic department has run afoul of the cultural appropriation police. In the fall of 2013, a Cinco de Mayo-themed promotion for a Cornell football game was deemed insensitive, eventually leading to an apology from the athletic department.
This article was originally published in The Cornell Review, a conservative student newspaper affiliated with the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished here with permission.
Follow The Cornell Review on Twitter: @cornellreview