Louisiana State University officials have apologized for editing painted crosses off the bodies of four dedicated football fans.
The students are part of a group known as the Painted Posse. The spirited groups attends LSU Tigers games in full body paint and since many of the group’s members are also devout Christians, they paint small crosses over their hearts.
On Oct. 13, the diehard fans attended the LSU-South Carolina game in their usual painted attire. A photo was taken of the four male students passionately cheering on their team. Two days later, a promotional email from the school to its sports fan was sent out, using the photo, but the crosses were gone.
Hundreds of people took to LSU’s Facebook page to complain about the airbrushing decision.
“When you erased the crosses, you erased the truth and the reality,” one commenter wrote. “This is a problem in our country and world.”
Another wrote: “You also erased everything this country is made from and was built upon, furthermore erased those boys’ freedom of speech and or religion.”
On Monday, the school posted a message on Facebook explaining, “In messages to sports fans we attempt to convey no religious or political messaging.”
“We did not intend to offend anyone by the editing of this photograph and in the future we will use another photo rather than make a similar edit,” the school wrote. “We erred in our judgment and we have communicated our apologies to the group of young men represented in the photo whose school spirit is second to none.”
The original photo with the crosses was posted on the school’s Facebook page and website.