A photo from 2013 shows Oklahoma State fans holding less objectionable signs. (Brett Deering/Getty Images)

ESPN’s “College GameDay” is arguably the network’s most fun-loving show, one that conducts all sorts of merriment in front of college students who are encouraged to get into the act by carrying humorous signs. Not surprisingly, many of these signs creep up to the boundaries of good taste, and some of them go far beyond those boundaries. Today’s telecast, located in Fort Worth and focusing on the Florida State-Oklahoma State game, included one those latter examples.


Yup, that’s a “Trail of Tears” reference some of those kids are happily making. A quick history lesson, for them and anyone else who needs it: the Trail of Tears was a forced migration in 1838-39 by Cherokee Indians from lands they had held in Georgia to what is now Oklahoma. It is estimated that more than 4,000 men, women and children died along the way.

So not a very funny, or remotely appropriate, reference, Oklahoma State fans. Certainly, the university itself saw things that way.

The Cherokee Nation marked the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears today. According to the Tulsa World, Principal Chief Bill John Baker told a crowd at the Cherokee National Courthouse in Tahlequah, Okla.: “It was 175 years ago we arrived here in eastern Oklahoma and began our greatest chapter — building the largest, most advanced tribal government in the United States. Our ancestors were pulled from their homes in the east, forced into stockades and marched here to Indian Territory by a federal government that tried to brutally extinguish us.”

From Oklahoma’s News on 6:

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker told News On 6 he’d seen the sign, but knows that their “good partners” at OSU will do their best to explain to students “how hurtful” the sign is in light of the tribe’s heritage and history.

“It’s not going to ruin our holiday,” he said. “We’re trying to at least educate our state and other states as well so they truly understand, and we’ve got more work to do.”