Four University of Kansas cheerleaders have been suspended over an image posted to a social media account possibly linking President-Elect Donald Trump to the Ku Klux Klan, reports say.
The row started when a photo was posted to Snapchat featuring three white, male members of the Kansas cheer team standing side-by-side in a photo with their “K” shirts on and the words “Kkk go Trump” superimposed underneath them. The “K” on the students’ shirts stands for Kansas. The photo was reportedly taken at a party held on November 20, according to KUSports.com.
It isn’t exactly clear if the three students were purposefully referencing the Ku Klux Klan or that if it was just a disastrous coincidence since all three are “K” Kansas students.
But the reference was taken as a given, at least by one other Kansas student. Not long after the image was posted to Snapchat, a female cheerleader launched into a tirade against the image. The student’s rant was filled with racist overtones.
In short order, school officials suspended the three males and the female who struck up the argument over the photo.
— Kansas Jayhawks (@KUAthletics) November 22, 2016
The female cheerleader, though, pleaded ignorance of the posts. In an interview with school officials the female cheerleader, sophomore Lilli Gagin, adamantly insisted she did not post the racist messages about the photo. She claimed someone else got a hold of her phone and posted the race-filled rant against the photo.
— Patrick Quaife (@pquaife) November 22, 2016
Miss Gagin later posted a message to Twitter (account protected and not public) reading, “I’m appalled that a snapchat was put out on my snapchat and posted on my account. I would never of done that & I apologize that it happened.”
The school did not identify the names of any of the four students, but Gagin was revealed since her name appears on the Snapchat posts that turned up on social media.
School officials explained that all were suspended pending the outcome of an investigation. They added that all were suspended equally in order to be “fair” with all four students and not to seem to be picking sides until an investigation is completed.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.