UCF Athletics apologizes for ‘CALL THE NATIONAL GUARD’ post after routing Kent State

Intention was to reference famous ‘96 sideline clip, UCF says

A screenshot of a since-deleted social media post made by UCF Football after its win Aug. 31 over Kent State, featuring a photo of John Rhys Plumlee. (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The University of Central Florida sports department on Friday issued an apology to Kent State over a controversial social media post, a day after the two schools went head to head in football.

UCF Athletics said in a statement that Terry Mohajir, its vice president and director of athletics, apologized to Kent State for the school’s “unfortunate” post, which was made following the Knights’ 56-6 win over the Golden Flashes.

Paired with a photo showing UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee on the phone, the post stated, “SOMEONE CALL THE NATIONAL GUARD.”

The since-deleted post was made with the intention to reference a famous moment from 1996 during an NFL game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, the UCF statement said. In the sideline clip — with the final score 34-8 in Denver’s favor — Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe pretends to call the president, saying in part, “President, we need the National Guard (...) call the dogs off, send the National Guard.”

On May 2, 1970, the National Guard was called to Kent, Ohio, to disperse anti-war protests being led in large part by Kent State University students. As classes resumed May 4, a day after much of the protesting had been broken up, thousands of demonstrators returned to the university’s campus. National Guardsmen opened fire into a crowd of protesters there, killing four students and wounding nine, one of whom was left paralyzed.

Known afterward as the Kent State massacre, the shooting drove much public opinion firmly against the Vietnam War and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, according to CNN.

[EXCLUSIVE: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s FREE) | PINIT! Share your photos]

Acknowledging “the unfortunate event that took place at Kent State in 1970,″ the statement from UCF Athletics describes any reference seemingly made to the shooting as unintended and unfortunate, adding “updated protocols” to internal workflow are now in place to prevent such a mishap in the future.

An unfortunate post was made with the intention to reference the famous Shannon Sharpe sideline clip of him on the phone from a 1996 game against the New England Patriots.

As soon as our staff was made aware of the unintended reference to the unfortunate event that took place at Kent State in 1970, the post was removed. It was addressed with our staff immediately, and updated protocols have been put in place to avoid a situation like this in the future.

Vice President and Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir has apologized to Kent State Director of Athletics Randale L. Richmond.

UCF Athletics statement | Sept. 1, 2023

The game was UCF’s first as a member of the Big 12 after the team’s leap from the American Athletic Conference.

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.