A sports rivalry is supposed to be fun, but in some cases it can come with extreme intensity. Much like the Alabama/Auburn Iron Bowl, sometimes two programs just absolutely loathe each other. For many throughout the state of West Virginia, this can also be said about the WVU/Marshall rivalry. While there are some West Virginians who are fans of one and don’t care anything about the other, there are some who are fans of one and absolutely despise the other. This can lead to some harsh, absolutely uncalled for actions by both fanbases. With the recent uproar over an image tweeted by the Marshall Barstool account, it can also be said that Mountaineer fans are not innocent in their own bits of our hatred.
It has been nearly eight-years since the Mountaineers and Herd met on the gridiron, but there are still stories circulating the web about how Mountaineer fans conducted themselves while attending the contests between the schools. There have been a number of Herd fans take to sites such as Reddit to describe the gear that a select few of Mountaineer fans would wear during meetings with the Herd. A t-shirt that mocked the widely known 1970 plane crash of the Marshall University football team, along with shouting chants that displayed the same message. For any individual to use such a tragic event as humor is absolutely repulsive. Many in the Huntington community are still hurt immensely by the event and any Mountaineer fan that took it upon themselves to display such a distasteful message should be embarrassed with themselves.
Mountaineer fans take pride in their home field being one of the most hospitable experiences for visiting fans. Many visiting fans have taken to social media to show their appreciation toward Mountaineer fans for the warm welcome. Why should this be any different with our little brother Marshall University? If there is one thing West Virginians are supposed to be, it’s unified. Yes, we may not agree on which team to support in our great state, but this does not call for any kind of hate speech. It is completely fine for one to poke fun at a Thundering Herd fan over their football team being winless against the Mountaineers, but it will never be okay to make any kind of negative comments about the tragic event that occurred in 1970.
The image tweeted by Marshall’s Barstool Twitter account and any slander from Mountaineer fans about the 1970 plane crash are both things that should NEVER be used against each other again. Rivalries are supposed to come with dislike of one another. WVU and Marshall fans will surely continue to feud with each other, however, it should stay arguments about what transpires in athletics. We are all West Virginians, no matter what colors we wear.