Bethune Cookman University President Trudie Kibbe and band director Donovan Wells apologized to the family of deceased Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion for a comment made during the halftime show Saturday at the 32nd annual Florida Classic.

Legendary B-CU band announcer Horatio Walker concluded the Wildcats’ show by telling FAMU’s Marching 100 band to “do what you do best ‘roll over, crawl away and die.”

In an unfortunate, unrelated coincidence, 26-year-old FAMU drum major Robert Champion died shortly after his performance in the Florida Classic sparking some criticism of Walker’s earlier comments.

“Bethune-Cookman University President Trudie Kibbe Reed and the Marching Wildcats Band Director Donovan Wells, on behalf of the entire B-CU family, offer their sincerest condolences to Florida A&M University and the family of drum major, Mr. Robert Champion, for their tragic loss.

Additionally, President Reed, Mr. Wells and the B-CU family, regret the inappropriate comments regarding FAMU drum majors made over the public announcement system at the Florida Classic game. On behalf of B-CU, the President extends apologies to the FAMU family and takes full responsibility for this incident. While these comments were made during friendly competition and were not intended to be malicious, we recognize that these words were insensitive and hurtful.”

B-CU President Trudie Kibbe plans to propose to the Florida Classic Consortium a neutral screening of each team’s scripts before the game.

There’s been talk on the internet some of the traditional trash talking went too far in this year’s game on behalf of both band announcers, Walker and FAMU announcer Joe Bullard. Walker also made a sexual reference towards FAMU’s band telling the Marching 100 to ‘lay down, this won’t take long it’ll be a quickie.’ Bullard also retorted later on towards the Wildcats’ 14 karat Gold dancers that “the city of Daytona called and they’re out of weave.”

Trash talking aside, it is a very sensitive time for the Champion family who will be facing the Thanksgiving holiday season without their son.

It’s impressive that B-CU is taking the lead in amending what they deemed as inappropriate language towards the show but perhaps the Champion family should be allowed to weigh in on the matter before any decisions are made as the band was something their son dearly loved.

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