Costumes around Halloween at football games are a common sight, but a noose around the neck of a President Obama character being led by a fan with a Donald Trump mask certainly caught the attention of University of Wisconsin officials and millions of others.
A fan sporting the Trump mask attending Saturday's game at Wisconsin vs. Nebraska clutched a rope with a noose around the neck of an another fan wearing a mask of Obama, the nation's first black president, in prison garb. At times, the second fan donned a facial likeness of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The image circulated widely on social media and various websites during UW-Madison's annual Freak Fest, which drew many costumed fans to the game.
The political statement seemingly in support of the Republican presidential nominee prompted a statement from Patrick Herb, sports information spokesman for the Badgers, about what he called "a highly insensitive and offensive costume."
Herb said stadium staff members approached the man responsible for the get-ups and "asked him to remove the offensive components" of the costumes. "He complied."
A video also posted online during the game showed the two departing the stadium before the game was over, apparently of their own accord.
Herb went on to say that while the school considers the imagery "counter to the values of the university and athletic department," it fell within the "right to free speech."
Some respondents on Twitter, however, saw the portrayal as something closer to hate speech and not so much free speech.
Campus Police Chief Sue Riseling endorsed the school's stand, writing Saturday night on Twitter: "exercising your 1st amendment rts doesn't require good taste. Showin up #Badger in Obama mask & a noose around his neck is a prime example."
The incident in Camp Randall Stadium comes shortly before Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, visits the campus on Tuesday.