Iowa State University student government president Jared Knight sent a letter of apology to the University of Kansas and Elijah Johnson in response to racist tweets sent by Iowa State students and fans to Johnson, according to the Lawrence Journal-World.
“On behalf of all students of Iowa State University, I apologize to Elijah Johnson, the students at the University of Kansas and anyone else who read these hateful and disgusting tweets,” Knight wrote. “I am embarrassed to be associated with these individuals and I unequivocally condemn their statements. This conduct is so far removed from the open-minded and accepting culture of Iowa State students that I have witnessed in my four years on campus.”
Johnson accepted the apology.
“At the end of the day they’re fans, they care,” said Johnson. “They apologized, I’m past it, and I think we all should be past it.”
Johnson scored 39 points, 20 coming in the final 5:29 of the game, in KU’s overtime win over the Cyclones, and didn’t help his standing with ISU fans when he decided to dunk at the end of the game instead of running out the clock. Johnson would apologize for the dunk in the postgame press conference.
Questionable officiating at the end of the game only fueled the fire.
“I honestly am not having a hard time dealing with it because I am real good with blocking out the negative stuff,” Johnson said. “That’s what I’ve always been able to do.”
Kansas head coach Bill Self was onboard with the apology as well.
“[The] Iowa State student body has responded in a way that left no doubt where they stood on the things that were said and the issues and that is good enough for me,” Self said. “Unfortunately, there are idiots around in all different areas, and that should not take away from the people that were at the game that cheered their team on and did it wholeheartedly.”
Self had his own run-in with a fan after the win. After conducting a postgame interview with ESPN, Self was confronted by an Iowa State fan on the floor while Self was heading back to the locker room. The fan was stopped by a security officer before he could reach Self. Self said he felt Monday’s events will not effect the way he views Iowa State or visiting Ames in the future.
“I’ve always enjoyed going there,” Self said. “I’ll enjoy going there moving forward and these couple of idiots will not have anything to do with us enjoying that.”
The apology comes ahead of a possible re-match between ISU and KU in the Big 12 Tournament, which starts March 13 in Kansas City. Both teams play Saturday, Kansas hosts West Virginia in Lawrence while Iowa State has a tough road game in Norman against Oklahoma.
Here is the full copy of the letter from Knight per the Journal-World:
“At approximately 10:45 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 25, two Iowa State students began tweeting a series of reprehensible and disgusting messages toward the University of Kansas basketball team and one player in particular. Though the individuals’ accounts have been deleted, those messages contained threats of violence as well as derogatory, racial slurs. Another tweet today made similar comments toward one of the referees — an African-American — from the game.
“On behalf of all students of Iowa State University, I apologize to Elijah Johnson, the students at the University of Kansas and anyone else who read these hateful and disgusting tweets. I am embarrassed to be associated with these individuals and I unequivocally condemn their statements. This conduct is so far removed from the open-minded and accepting culture of Iowa State students that I have witnessed in my four years on campus.
“That there are people who still think, talk and act like these students is stunning to me, and it sadly reminds us that there is much work to do in eliminating racism and violence from our society. These individuals are a disgrace to our student body and our university, and we sincerely apologize to everyone affected by this incident.”