After a FAMU hazing death two years ago, the Florida A&M Marching 100 returned to the field for the first time — after a moment of silence was observed.
After Robert Champion’s 2011 FAMU hazing death, the ramifications of the tragedy reverberated across many sections of the school’s culture. There were a dozen arrests, resignations of school officials, and the Marching 100 were sanctioned with a season-long suspension from football games.
While the FAMU hazing aftermath was necessary, fans said, it also impacted game attendance. 1985 FAMU graduate Cedric Crawford told CBS that while he understood the decision to suspend the band after the fatality, the Marching 100’s return to the field was welcomed:
“They did have to be punished – if you want to say that. But it’s great to have them back… It’s almost not football season without the band – especially at FAMU.”
After the Marching 100 returned to the field following a moment of silence, some fans were happy. But Champion’s mother Pam Champion says her son’s FAMU hazing death (reportedly following a “savage beating”) did not change anything at the school when it comes to safety of current and future students.
“It’s too soon for the band to be back on the field simply because there is nothing to indicate the safety of student is being considered at all… I still feel there has been a rush to put the band on the field and that rush… has to do with finance. They are putting profit before safety.”
Band member Ronald Gray said after two years, it was good to return to playing, saying the moment of silence was heartfelt and adding:
“It was exciting… It was two years since we touched this exact same field. Just being on the sideline and hearing crowd actually chanting, and not being able to hear the whistle because of the volume of the crowd… I lost sleep last night thinking about it actually.”
A “culture” of FAMU hazing has been under fire since Champion died two years ago.