According to Fox News, LSU officials sent out a photo of the group of fans, the so-called Painted Posse, in a campus e-mail about the Tigers’ victory over South Carolina Oct. 13.
The Painted Posse is a group of Christian students who paint their bodies with LSU school colors and small crosses. The e-mail shows the group at the game, but the crosses had been digitally removed.
“I was a bit surprised, because our pictures get used so frequently, and the cross had never been edited before,” Posse member Cameron Cooke told the website CampusReform.org. “The cross painting is important to me because it represents who I am as a Christ follower. And it reminds me who I need to act like in Death Valley,” he said.
“I knew from the second I was old enough to know that I was going to LSU,” another Posse member, Joel D’Aubin, told NBC33 in Baton Rouge. “And we all have a passion for LSU football and for Christ. Just being able to be that example every single Saturday is an awesome experience.”
School spokesman Herb Vincent told the site the school altered the image to prevent other students from being offended.
“We don’t want to imply we are making any religious or political statements, so we air-brushed it out,” the school said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. “Only one of the students, who didn’t appreciate it, actually contacted us about it. So next time, we’ll just choose a different photo.”
But the statement went on to acknowledge the deletion was a mistake.
“We erred in our judgment and we have communicated our apologies to the group of young men represented in the photo whose school spirit is second to none.”