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Vanderbilt Under Fire For Poorly-Worded Football Promotion

Posted at 1:16 PM, Aug 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 17:23:12-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt University is taking some heat online for a tweet posted from the official football Twitter page.

The tweet was apparently intended to promote the upcoming football season, but the wording used opened the door to more controversy in light of the ongoing rape case against four former football players.

The tweet began with, “We are RELENTLESS, TOUGH AND INTELLIGENT, and…” An image was posted that continued the saying with, “We DON’T need your permission!”

As image of head coach Derek Mason’s signature appeared under the wording.

The tweet was sent Thursday at 10:07 a.m. and quickly picked up criticism for the poor word choice in light of the pending criminal case.

Former football players Brandon Vandenburg, Cory Batey, Jaborian McKenzie and Brandon Banks have all been indicted on charges of aggravated rape and aggravated battery. They have been accused of raping and sexually assaulting an unconscious female student inside a Vanderbilt dorm room back in 2013.

Vandenburg and Batey were initially convicted, but the verdict was voided when the judge detailed a mistrial. After the case was concluded, the jury foreman did several media interviews where he said he wanted to be the person to tell the two men they were convicted because of his own history as a victim of sexual assault.

At a hearing, the juror said he never considered himself a victim, and that his work his previous experiences had no bearing on the outcome of the verdict against Vandenbury and Batey. However, defense attorneys successfully argued the juror should have disclosed that he was previously the victim in a separate sexual assault case.

Thursday’s ill-worded promotion was later deleted from Vanderbilt Football’s Twitter account, and apology was issued, saying the image was not intended to be about sexual assault, and that sexual assault is not acceptable at the university.





A new date for the former football players has been set for November 30.