A memorial design on the football helmets of an Arkansas university team was downsized and changed recently, despite concerns from some students who felt the design should remain the same.
After a football player and an equipment manager died at Arkansas State University, team members decided to add a cross with the initials of Markel Owens and Barry Weyer to their helmets to honor the men, according to Region 8 News.
Instead of a cross, the new design features a small white line across the team’s black helmets and the initials along the line.
But the change has been met with some criticism from students who felt it was unnecessary and disrespectful to the team’s wishes.
"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."
Other students also agreed that they did not think the cross memorial was offensive to other students.
"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 said, according to Region 8 News.
Hunter Hinton said he thinks that he doesn’t understand why the change had to happen.
(via Region 8 News)
"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," Hinton told Region 8 News.
(via Region 8 News)
Another student, Aaron Gossett, echoed the same sentiment.
"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," Gossett said.
Some members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, however, said they think that the cross part of the memorial was clearly a symbol of Christianity and that it would be inappropriate to keep it.
Source: Region 8 News