The University of Massachusetts’s football team picked an appropriate match for their upcoming Pride Day: their October 8 home game against the Christian conservative and anti-LGBTQ Liberty University.
“Special announcement,” reads a message on the team’s Twitter account. “Our game vs. Liberty on October 8 will be #PrideDay!!”
The accompanying video shows a football player surrounded by rainbow lights.
🏳️🌈 Special Announcement 🏳️🌈
Our game vs. Liberty on October 8 will be #PrideDay 🏳️🌈 ‼️
— UMass Football (@UMassFootball) September 18, 2022
Liberty University — which was founded by Jerry Falwell, one of the 20th century’s most powerful evangelicals — is one of the most notoriously anti-LGBTQ schools in the country.
Their code of conduct, dubbed “The Liberty Way,” prohibits “statements and behaviors that are associated with LGBT states of mind,” which includes holding hands with a member of the same sex or using pronouns that don’t correspond to one’s sex assigned at birth. The Liberty Way even says students should go out of their way to “avoid the appearance of impropriety” when it comes to LGBTQ identity.
On Twitter, UMass fans noticed that for their Pride Day their team is playing against the team that probably would never celebrate Pride otherwise. Others bemoaned the choice, saying that it is inappropriate to make Liberty’s team participate in a Pride celebration because the school is Christian.
UMass: terrible at football, elite at trolling. https://t.co/SLXdap7dnY
— Jeff Ermann (@Jeff_Ermann) September 19, 2022
crowdsourcing here bc i don't actually know… how common are NCAA pride days/nights, especially in football?
but also… against liberty? simply LOVE to see it https://t.co/imjwsQ6f8Z
— mollie cahillane (@MollieCahillane) September 19, 2022
Good job doing it against a team that probably hates those people lol
— RandomDude476 (2-0) (59-103) (@WandomWude476) September 18, 2022
Love what UMass is doing here…we never should have put this school on our schedule, and hopefully this begins the process of cancelling future games.
— Mel Webster (@MelWebster) September 19, 2022
Junior Falwell will watch in a corner
— Jawn Cangelosi (38-31) (@JiveNarduzzi) September 18, 2022
And somehow today, from outside Knoxville, Tennessee, I just became a UMass fan.
— Jim Gass (@jimgass) September 19, 2022
In all fairness, that’s exactly what a lot of schools would want Liberty to do. Liberty would basically be excluded from athletics if they started cancelling games.
— cameron • i make websites. (@TarbellCameron) September 18, 2022
More classy than how that Christian school treats their LGBTQ students.
One side is saying 'hey, it's messed up how you treat people, just want to point that out' while the other side is actively treating a group like garbage. You defend the latter.
— Nitty Chonkers (@fortheglory) September 19, 2022
Speaking of embarrassing, Shout-out to that time Jerry Falwell blamed "the gays" for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
— TurnipDaFunk (@funk_turnip) September 19, 2022
This is the BEST possible way to welcome Liberty to town.
— SomeRandomGuy (@SomeRndmGuyUT) September 18, 2022