Florida paid tribute to Gainesville native and rock legend Tom Petty, who passed away earlier in the week at the age of 66, during Saturday’s game against LSU.
During the third quarter, Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down” played over the loudspeakers while the crowd sang the chorus in unison.
While the gesture itself was a classy tribute to the rock icon, a related incident that occurred was far less heartwarming.
As reported by SBNation‘s Morgan Moriarty, Florida fans became irate at LSU’s Tiger Band when they started playing just before Petty’s song was played.
The video below shows a woman in what appears to be an autographed visor yelling “shut the f*** up” and later a man wearing a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers shirt screaming obscenities at band members.
The outrage was enough thatLSU’s band clarified its role in the incident by pointing out that it “always plays pregame/touchdown for LSU” at the end of the 3rd quarter in a post on its Facebook page. According to the post, the plan was for the band to honor its tradition while Florida honored its singing tradition simultaneously.
Clarification on the 3-4th quarter situation last night. As is customary and tradition for LSU for every game over several decades, at the end of the 3rd quarter Tiger Band always plays Pregame/Touchdown for LSU. The plan was for LSU to honor their decades-old tradition while Florida honored their singing tradition simultaneously. Then right after LSU finished their Pregame, a tribute was to ensue. To help facilitate this, the LSU band started their Pregame tradition early with :10 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter. At no time was it the intentions of Tiger Band to disrespect or interrupt a tribute of someone we consider a musical icon and apologize to anyone thinking this was the case.
In order to do so, the band started its song with 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The band also claimed it had no intentions to “disrespect or interrupt a tribute of someone we consider a musical icon” and apologized “to anyone thinking this was the case.”
While the band likely didn’t intend to spoil UF’s tribute to Petty, it is worth noting that it was extremely chipper on Saturday, having greeted its team with the previously banned song “Neck” during warmups.
Another chapter in one of the SEC’s most heated rivalries.