Michigan State issued an apology Saturday night after an image of Adolf Hitler appeared on the videoboard at Spartan Stadium before the Spartans’ 42-0 loss to No. 2 Michigan. The image was part of a pregame trivia quiz that asked his birthplace.
“I am deeply sorry for the offensive image we displayed on the Spartan Stadium video boards Saturday night,” Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said in a statement released Sunday. “I apologize for the pain it has caused our community. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to make sure all those who interact with Spartan Athletics feel safe, valued and respected. The image was harmful to our communities, especially our Jewish community which is currently experiencing a rise in antisemitism, including acts of violence.”
Haller explained that the video was not viewed in its entirety by anyone affiliated with Michigan State athletics. He also noted that an “involved employee” was identified and suspended with pay pending a university investigation.
The trivia package was found to be published on YouTube.
Photos from the game showed the stadium was not yet full when the image was displayed over an hour before kickoff. Michigan State was thoroughly ridiculed on social media for the offensive gaffe.
“MSU is aware that inappropriate content by a third-party source was displayed on the videoboard prior to the start of tonight’s football game,” said Matt Larson, Michigan State’s associate athletic director, in a statement Saturday. “We are deeply sorry for the content that was displayed, as this is not representative of our institutional values. MSU will not be using the third-party source going forward and will implement stronger screening and approval procedures for all videoboard content in the future.”
The blunder was part of a rough night for the Spartans, which fell to 2-5 as they were crushed by the in-state rival Wolverines.