Officials reprimand student for offensive tweet

UNA student Bradley Patterson has been removed from the football team and has been instructed to disassociate with the Athletics department, following a racist tweet he posted on his personal Twitter account Sunday night against President Barack Obama, said Director of Athletics Mark Linder.

Patterson tweeted, “Take that n***** off the tv, we wanna watch football!” during Obama’s address to families and community members at the Newtown memorial for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

University President Bill Cale said in an email to faculty and Board of Trustees members that he finds Patterson’s actions to be “absolutely deplorable.”

“The University of North Alabama prides itself on a campus climate of respect in which the dignity of every person is a treasured value,” Cale said. “At a time of national mourning when the President of the United States was speaking to families in Connecticut stricken by unfathomable grief, that one of our students should utter such racial venom is completely unacceptable.”

Linder said he became aware of the tweet around 8:45 p.m. on Sunday night, and that by 9:26 p.m., Patterson was no longer a member of the football team or Athletics department at UNA.

“We have a code of conduct that we expect our student athletes to follow,” Linder said. “It was very clear that he was in violation of that code.”

Patterson was a third-string long snapper who walked on to the team after four games, Linder said. Reports said he never played a game for the university.

Cale said the lesson to be learned from this is the permanence of social media.

“Incidents such as this one will linger for years, will be seen by prospective employers, teachers, church members, acquaintances old and new,” he said. “It is not a legacy anyone should create for themselves.”

The Athletics department has currently handled it to the fullest extent of their power, Linder said.

“We are finished with it, at this point,” he said.

Cale ended his email by expressing his pride for UNA.

“I know that we will move beyond what happened,” he said. “Let us do that in the spirit of the season by continuing to care for each other, and by affirming our shared principles as we build our University.”