As disappointing as the Monmouth University’s men’s basketball loss was on Friday night against first-place Siena, it was the actions by some students in the stands that made what happened on the court seem insignificant.
During the team’s 86-72 loss in the final home game of the season, a photo of a sign with homophobic messaging directed at one of the Siena players emerged from the Monmouth student section, located behind the basket at the east end of the OceanFirst Bank Center in West Long Branch, New Jersey.
A photo of the incident surfaced on social media over the weekend.
According to reports on social media, members of the student section were displaying copies of one of the Siena player’s profiles on the dating application Tinder, as the visiting team was returning to the floor for the second half.
At the back of the group, someone is seen in the photo holding a large whiteboard over his head with the message “Stick to GRINDR.’
Grindr is an online dating and social networking application that bills itself as ‘the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people.’
Monmouth University President Patrick Leahy, who regularly attends men’s basketball games, promised an investigation in an email he sent to the campus community Saturday.
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Leahy said he “was made aware of highly offensive actions by several members of our student body directed at players on the opposing team during last night’s men’s basketball game.”
“Please be assured that we are working swiftly to gather additional details and to directly address the behavior with those involved,” Leahy said in the email obtained by the Asbury Park Press. “We value every member of our campus community. Strong and inclusive communities are built on a bond of trust. When that bond is broken, we take it very seriously. Discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated on this campus.”
“Please trust that I will update the campus community as we investigate further,” Leahy said.
The incident occurred just two nights after a Gay Pride Night was held at a Monmouth men’s basketball game. That event, along with one at a women’s basketball game on Feb. 27, was organized by Monmouth women’s tennis captain Caroline Mattise, who is gay.
The locker room for the visiting team is located under the stands, just inside the tunnel that comes out onto the court in front of the student section.
There was an incident between the two teams on the court in the immediate aftermath of the game, with players on both teams having to be separated just seconds after the final buzzer following what had been a contentious game. It’s not known if that was a reaction to the students.