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Savannah State cheerleader claims fan harassment during Georgia Southern football game

Published: Sep. 6, 2016 at 10:11 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2016 at 12:29 AM EDT
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STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Georgia Southern University leaders are trying to figure out what happened during Saturday's football game between GSU students and Savannah State cheerleaders.

A Savannah State cheerleader claims Southern fans, believed to be sitting in the student seats, hurled racial slurs toward the field and that's not all.

The student posted to Facebook what she said was her worst experience. She described bottles being thrown, being called unholy names and fans using racial slurs and actions.

Tuesday, Georgia Southern issued a statement that they and Savannah State were made aware of the behavior and an investigation is underway.

In talking to a small sample of students, none directly saw anything but all said there's no justification for such behavior, even in the heat of a game.

"I've seen a lot of heckling at football games and that's not abnormal for Georgia Southern, but to bring race into it is not right," said GS senior Hailey Phillips.

"I don't think racial stuff is ever appropriate or cool and I don't think it should ever be tolerated," said GS freshman Damon Strozier.

One person responded to the cheerleader via Facebook and apologized for the behavior, "I hate to hear of anyone being discriminated against or antagonized by any of my peers."

WTOC talked with Moses Calhoun, the man who drove the SSU team bus. While he did not witness what the cheerleaders' claim, he said it was definitely a racially charged environment in the stands where he was sitting in the upper deck.

"We just noticed how hostile it was. People saying whatever they wanted to say, using racial slurs with no problem. It was going on like it was normal. There was a guy on his phone saying 'we're kicking these blank, blank, blank.' I don't want to say what he said," said Calhoun.

Calhoun said the slurs were coming from about 30 fans, not everyone. He has attended these games since he played football at SSU back in 1989 and he has never experienced anything like this before.

Unfortunately, he says it seems like a sign of the times.

"Everyone for lack of a better term is being politically incorrect, saying whatever they want to say and not caring who hears it or around them. Seems like a lot of that is going around," said Calhoun.

We're trying to find out if the young lady reported the incident during the game and if police or security had the chance to find or identify anyone and if they've heard from any students in that area who could shed light on this.

As soon as we find any answers, we'll let you know.

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