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ULL suspends 4 players for locker room video involving 'F*** Donald Trump' song

Louisiana-Lafayette players have played plenty of profane rap songs in football settings before, with program approval.

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - San Diego State v Louisiana-Lafayette Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth suspended four players following the release of a locker room video showing players, among other things, dancing and singing to a song called “Fuck Donald Trump.”

Hudspeth did not say who the players were or give specifics as to the suspensions. In his comments to the media regarding the incident, Hudspeth said this:

“I am obviously disappointed in a few of our players’ immature behaviors that they demonstrated in the locker room,” Hudspeth said shortly after UL’s win at Georgia Southern on Thursday night.

“We do not condone that type of behavior. It is not an example of our entire team. It does not represent our entire team.

“It has been handled,” he added, “and it will be a learning experience for these young men that were involved — although it was very few.”

Hudspeth is walking a very fine line here with the optics of this situation, effectively disallowing players to express themselves freely with the music that they like.

This may shock you: people enjoy rap music. People like it loud, and they like to dance to it.

Hudspeth didn’t seem to have a problem with this when his team celebrated their 2011 bowl win with a song containing lyrics such as: “Beat one of you bitch niggas up like John Cena / Them hoes on Young Money, tell them hoes we comin’ / Boy, we get it poppin’, we ain't savin’ hoes, we swappin’.”

In fact, that’s the locker room culture he promotes.

During his first offseason with the team, a television news feature showed some of the changes Hudspeth brought to the way the team practices, including a “Club Hud” atmosphere in which music blares (not a rarity at FBS programs).

That shot in which it’s just the speakers blaring music and nothing else? That’s a Jay Z song called “Renegade.” The TV clip only plays the last part of the line: “Say that I'm foolish, I only talk about jewels.” It leaves out the beginning of the line, which starts with “motherfucker.”

The players clearly aren’t breaking protocol by playing rap music in the locker room. But, in this most recent case, Hudspeth is publicly saving face.

To deny that Hudspeth decrying these players’ actions in Louisiana (a state Trump carried by a 58-38 margin, and a parish where Trump won, 64-31) isn’t a “cover your ass” move could be deemed naive. There is a reason the most front-facing official at the university came out against something that, it’s fair to say, many donors and fans of the athletic program will regard as heinous.

Part of the video shows players walking around naked (as athletes are wont to do, in the privacy of their own locker rooms) and taking selfies showing the middle finger to cameras.

If Hudspeth was standing on the sanctity of locker room privacy, that’s one thing. But if you’re going to let players enjoy their music and their chosen form of expression, these are some of the things that come with it.

Hudspeth also added a bit of commentary, muddying the waters ...

“The few men involved did not even vote in the presidential election,” Hudspeth said. “So, did not have a dog in the hunt.

“Obviously the hand gestures and the lewd language were very disappointing, especially toward one of the candidates.”

... because not only does he decry his players actions, he comes out against the people decrying his players’ actions.

“But I will say this,” he added. “It’s also disappointing that so many people have vilified a few 19-year-olds making some immature decisions, and then they were the same ones that voted for someone that has done much worse by grabbing a female in the private areas for the office of the (President of the) United States of America.”

Hudspeth said he considered that “somewhat hypocritical.”

“And if they have never done anything that they were a little bit ashamed of when they were 19,” he said, “then they can get in line to throw the first stone against our team.”

It comes back to this: What specifically was ULL's problem here?

It’s not really specified, but perhaps that’s the point.

Football coaches walk a tricky line when they try to legislate the morality of their teams. In the same statement, Hudspeth called conduct “disappointing,” then said those that view it that way are “somewhat hypocritical.”

He traffics here in the same way that many coaches do when their players do something they may find embarrassing. You must publicly support the young men you promised to take care of for four years, while also doling out discipline to appeal to those who ensure you have a job.