Oklahoma State University officials say a sign held by students at the GameDay event today crossed the line.
The sign read "Send 'em home #Trail_of_Tears #GoPokes."
Oklahoma State tweeted "OSU does not condone the insensitive sign shown at today's GameDay event and have requested that it be removed."
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker released a statement regarding the incident.
"It's particularly disappointing this unfortunate display happened the same weekend as Cherokee National Holiday, when we celebrate our resilience and ability to adapt and survive unimaginable circumstances. For months, we've also commemorated the 175th anniversary of the conclusion of the Trail of Tears. Since these students clearly don't understand the gravity of these events, this should be viewed as a teaching moment for these young people. We wish them well and hope they seek a more enlightened perspective," Baker said.
One of the OSU students responsible for the sign, Austin Buchanan, a junior at the school, has since apologized in a statement.
"Referencing the Trail of Tears in such a flippant and disrespectful manner was insensitive and wrong, and I make no defense for our having had such a lapse in judgment. I apologize for our mistake. I am truly sorry," Buchanan said.