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University of Alabama Football Fans Cause Stir With Offensive Hurricane Katrina Banner

| by Karin Sun
Controversial Katrina Banner.Controversial Katrina Banner.

A group of football fans at the University of Alabama chose a distasteful way to show support for its home team.

The Alabama fans reportedly made a banner in support of the Crimson Tide football team that read, "Finish what Katrina started," in reference to the Hurricane Katrina storm that killed 1,800 people in the New Orleans area in August 2005.

The banner was made from what appeared to be a large bedsheet and hung from an off-campus apartment building in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the day before the university's Nov. 7 game against the Louisiana State University Tigers.

On the same day the banner was hung, a passerby, Travon Williams, posted a picture of the sign on his Twitter page along with a message expressing his distaste for the offensive message, the NY Daily News reported.

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"This is why I hate Alabama Football fans and I hope LSU beat them by like 30," Williams wrote in the Nov. 6 Twitter post.

Many other Twitter users agreed with the sentiment. "I'm a Bama fan, but this sign is just awful," one commenter said in response to Williams' post. "Mocking lost lives. Unbelievable."

"I don't see any LSU fans holding up tornado banners for Bama," another user wrote in reference to a tornado that devastated parts of Tuscaloosa in April 2011. 

Officials from the University of Alabama have also condemned the banner, which has now gone viral on the Internet.

"UA is appalled that anyone would display a banner with such an inappropriate and offensive statement," the university said on Twitter.

The university's Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. David Grady also released an official message to the UA student body in response to the incident, according to AL.com.

"Banners have appeared around Tuscaloosa that contain offensive messages that are not representative of our University, our students or our football team," Grady said in the statement.

He added that the university's students should welcome rival football fans and visitors with the "same level of respect and good sportsmanship we expect of others."

Some UA students have also spoken out against the banner, the NY Daily News reported.

"I'm from Mobile. I had family in New Orleans," Sean Landry, editor-in-chief of the Alabama student newspaper "The Crimson White," wrote on Twitter.

"I live in Tuscaloosa, where my brother was on April 27," he added, referring to the date of the 2011 tornado. "This stuff will always be off limits."

The banner in question has since been removed.

Sources: NY Daily News, AL.com, Travon Williams/Twitter / Photo credit: Travon Williams/Twitter