Southern Miss band members punished

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
3:15
PM ET
In other, much less endearing band-related news, Southern Miss took action against five members of its pep band that chanted "Where's your green card?" at Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez in last Thursday's second-round loss to the Wildcats. The punishment is rather harsh, but it's probably appropriate: Five members (which the school did not identify) lost their scholarships, were kicked out of the band and will have to complete a two-hour sensitivity training course at the school, per the Associated Press. Again: harsh, but probably warranted. You can't get away with chants like that, nor should you. Lesson learned.

But here's the really important, and ignorant, part, one highlighted by a commenter in the AP story, no less: Rodriguez doesn't even need a green card. He's from Puerto Rico. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917. On Monday, they voted in the Republican electoral primary. You can travel to Puerto Rico without a visa (and I hear it's beautiful!), and Puerto Ricans can travel and/or reside freely in the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii without need for documentation, because U.S. citizens don't need green cards to be in the U.S.

Angel, you want to clear this up for everyone?
Rodriguez said last week that he accepted the apology because "there's ignorant people and I know that's not how they want to represent their university."

Rodriguez said he doesn't pay attention to that "nonsense, especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so we don't need no type of papers."

There are lessons to be learned here:

1. Don't chant racist and/or culturally insensitive things at college basketball games, particularly if you are representing your university and on scholarship while doing so. You will probably lose your scholarship, and you probably should.

2. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens!

Are we totally clear on this? We got it? Good. Now let's go back to talking about basketball, shall we? As far as Kansas State is concerned right now, there are far more pressing issues at hand.

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