The University of Massachusetts' Twitter account announced on Sunday, September 18 the team's Pride Day would take place on Saturday, October 8 during the UMass football game against Liberty University.
Even though UMass' football team isn't the best by any means, scheduling these two events at the same time casts an absurd amount of shade. Liberty University is regarded as one of the most homophobic Christian universities in the country.
Liberty University made the "Worst List" of schools on the Campus Pride website because of its long history of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, which includes forcing students into conversion therapy and refusing to give same-sex and trans spouses tuition discounts their cis and heterosexual contemporaries currently enjoy. Additionally, the university has an official connection to the dangerously anti-LGBTQ+ Liberty Counsel.
The announcement was accompanied by a short video, as well.
\u201c\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 Special Announcement \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\n\nOur game vs. Liberty on October 8 will be #PrideDay \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 \u203c\ufe0f\n\n\ud83c\udf9f\ufe0f + \ud83e\udde2 Special: https://t.co/H6F8cukvNL\n\n#Flagship \ud83d\udea9\u201d— UMass Football (@UMass Football) 1663531048
Reaction to the decision to host the notoriously anti-LGBTQ+ university on Pride Day—and to the video—was delight in the quote tweets, at least.
\u201cTrolling the super homophobic school they\u2019re playing is \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83e\udd0c\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\u201d— Lauren McKenzie (@Lauren McKenzie) 1663854072
Others pointed out maybe this should become a tradition at other schools.
\u201cThinking Boise State should follow suit on November 5th.\u201d— Kevin on Earth (@Kevin on Earth) 1663865729
\u201cEvery team that plays Liberty in any sport should make that game Pride night. BYU too.\n\nGood job UMass. \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\u201d— Anthony DiCicco (@Anthony DiCicco) 1663644562
And hey, this might even net them new fans.
\u201cI've never been more interested in a college football game. GO UMASS!!! \ud83c\udf08 \ud83c\udf08 \ud83c\udf08\u201d— lux\ud83c\udf19 (@lux\ud83c\udf19) 1663789544
\u201cif @herdfb did a pride night, I might attend my first marshall football game ever.\u201d— kyrsten (@kyrsten) 1663607051
Or, more succinctly...
\u201cI hate sports, but I *love* trolling homophobes.\u201d— Alonso Duralde \ud83c\udf84\ud83c\udf39\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 (@Alonso Duralde \ud83c\udf84\ud83c\udf39\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08) 1663795318
So the quote tweets were largely in favor of the trolling.
Not so much.
\u201cLiberty fans big mad in the replies \ud83d\ude02\u201d— TRUE BLUE DREW (@TRUE BLUE DREW) 1663602660
Glossing over many (many) replies to UMass' original post, they can mostly be summed up with this exchange.
\u201c@didlibertywin Which game is Bigot Appreciation Day at Williams Stadium?\u201d— UMass Football (@UMass Football) 1663531048
It gets more vitriolic from there, but if this has proven at least one point about UMass Football, it's they are at least good at eliciting the response they aim for.
We'll see what happens on October 8.