Stanford band stages controversial halftime skit during football game against BYU

A halftime performance during BYU football’s visit to Stanford Saturday night is causing a stir on social media for its content lampooning Latter-day Saint beliefs.

The Stanford band staged a skit titled “gay chicken” which involved a pair of women being married to each other, with the officiator using terms and phrases taken from sacred temple ceremonies within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Several BYU fans in attendance Saturday told Universe Sports they found the skit “upsetting” and “rude” for its inclusion of sacred temple themes.

Other fans were confused as to why Stanford administration would allow such a production at halftime when its own football program already has a number of Latter-day Saint ties, as five Cardinal players are Church members and served full-time missions, including highly-touted starting quarterback Tanner McKee. Stanford defensive coordinator Lance Anderson is a returned missionary as well.

“The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) has a long history of lighthearted and satirical halftime performances,” a Stanford athletics spokesperson said in a statement to Universe Sports. “Unfortunately, some of the language that was used in Saturday’s halftime show did not reflect Stanford University’s values of religious freedom and diversity, inclusion and belonging. The LSJUMB deeply regrets that this performance caused offense to spectators, and the halftime performance review and approval process is being adjusted to ensure that issues like this do not occur again.”

The skit comes less than three weeks following a statement issued by Stanford in response to a series of intolerant messages written on a campus Día de los Muertos altar.

“Any form of religious bias that shows intolerance to certain rituals and practices of others is unacceptable,” the Nov. 8 statement said.

A similar incident occurred in BYU’s most recent visit to Stanford in 2004, where the Cardinal band poked fun at the Church’s history of polygamy in a halftime show.

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