Students react to helmet modifications

Students react to helmet modifications

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A small memorial to honor a deceased football player and equipment manager is even smaller now. What was once a cross with initials for Markel Owens and Barry Weyer is now a small line with the men's initials.

It's a change that many Arkansas State University students felt was unwarranted.

"They were just mourning someone that they cared about and it wasn't to try to rub Christianity off on anybody," Devonte Buckner said. "It was just doing something that they needed to do for someone that they loved that meant something to them."

"If they're doing it in honor of a teammate, team member that were on their teams, the two boys...I think that that is something that they should be able to do," Ashley Williams told Region 8 News.

As it was the football players decision to honor Weyer and Owens in that fashion, some students say it shouldn't have become an issue.

"They weren't forced to do it and they thought of it that much to where they could actually do that and they did," Kortez Ellis said.

"It's not like they're putting it out there and saying 'that's the only way to be', they're remembering someone that lost their life and I don't see how anyone could be offended by some kind of memorial," Hunter Hinton told Region 8 News.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation told Region 8 News that the cross was an inappropriate way to honor Weyer and Owens, stating the decal was too closely related with Christianity.

"It's a memorial and the cross symbolizes, you know, it can be a lot of different things," Kailee Ware said.

"The football players putting that on their helmet, it doesn't mean the football players are representing any certain religion or anything like that, it just means that they're trying to respect their family," Aaron Gossett said.

As for people threatening to boycott ASU athletics because of their decision to modify the crosses, students we spoke with said that's a step in the wrong direction.

"I think that boycotting the games or doing something as backlash or hurtful is just kind of stepping on their memory," Bekah Hickman said.

"Hatred doesn't fix hatred and wrong doesn't fix wrong," Conner Smith told Region 8 News.

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