The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band often pushes the boundaries with what the university calls “lighthearted and satirical halftime performances.” For Latter-day Saints, their halftime show on November 26, which coincided with the school’s football game against Brigham Young University, went too far.
Entitled “gay chicken,” the performance included a skit in which two women were married by an officiator who used phrases from the temple sealing ceremonies used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Video from the Stanford Band's halftime performance during the #BYU game.
The dialogue is in captions on the scoreboard.
More on @kslsports. https://t.co/wbs2r849Ep pic.twitter.com/HnkIecLGXA
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) November 29, 2022
BYU fans in attendance told Universe Sports they found the skit “upsetting” and “rude.”
“What kind of school mocks the religious faith of their own [quarterback] at halftime?” asked Hal R. Boyd from Deseret News, referencing the highly-touted Tanner McKee.
A Stanford athletics spokesperson sent a statement to Universe Sports apologizing for the show.
“The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) has a long history of lighthearted and satirical halftime performances. Unfortunately, some of the language that was used in Saturday’s halftime show did not reflect Stanford University’s values of religious freedom and diversity, inclusion and belonging. The LSJUMB deeply regrets that this performance caused offense to spectators, and the halftime performance review and approval process is being adjusted to ensure that issues like this do not occur again,” the statement read.
However, many fans online find the statement hollow as they recall a similar incident in 2004 when the school apologized to BYU for the band performing a skit that poked fun at polygamy. At the time, Stanford athletic director Ted Leland said, “The actions of the Stanford band in Saturday’s game were inappropriate, and I wish to apologize to BYU, their team, fans and alumni. We are committed to being good hosts to our opponents who visit Stanford and anything that doesn’t reflect this is regrettable.”
The Cougars came out on top that night, with a 35-26 win against the Cardinals.