The USC band has apologized for playing during an on-field tribute to California defensive back Bryce Turner, who died earlier this year.
“Please accept my sincere apology for the USC Trojan Marching Band playing during the tribute to Mr. Turner,” band director Arthur C. Bartner said in a statement addressed to Turner’s family and the university.
“Due to a breakdown in communications, I was unaware of the memorial. However, that does not excuse our mistake. As the band director, I would never knowingly interrupt such a solemn event. We should have stood silently in respect to this young man. I accept full responsibility for our oversight, and apologize for our disruption.”
Turner, a former St. John Bosco standout and Long Beach City College transfer, had just finished his second season with the Golden Bears when he died in January after suffering a medical emergency during a non-team workout. He was 19.
But that moment was marred by the Spirit of Troy continuing to perform music from the stands as a video memorial of Turner was shown on the stadium’s screens.
The band quickly apologized on Twitter for “inadvertently performing” during the tribute.
Sincere apologies to the family of Bryce Turner and Cal fans for inadvertently performing during his memorial earlier.— The Spirit of Troy (@USCTMB) November 17, 2019
Many fans did not accept the apology and expressed their beliefs that the incident was anything but inadvertent.
It was inexcusably rude. His picture was on the video board for more than a few seconds, and it was obvious it was a memorial tribute. You all should have just stopped playing. An apology after the fact doesn't cut it. You play too much anyway - learn some etiquette.— Josette Walian (@oooda30) November 17, 2019
Visiting bands get instructions during games that tell them when and when not to play. USC was given these instructions and they knew exactly what they were doing. This organization is trash. https://t.co/QbhDOD2lxN— Matt Ha (@MattHaaa) November 17, 2019
it's not inadvertent when you are being told not to play and instead you play louder. Your band has no class. #GoBears— Evelyn B (@EvelynB93) November 17, 2019
USC band continued playing during our memorial for Bryce Turner. Completely disgraceful. Game producer telling them repeatedly to stop on the internal communications feed. Typical USC. pic.twitter.com/hQprzs4D2h— matt (@gobears99) November 17, 2019
I have been a USC fan for nearly 50 years and I am embarrassed by the insincere apology by this excellent band. I heard of the ASU debacle when you played as they tried to honor veterans. The band director should be sanctioned and there should be consequences for the leaders.— Ric Ruffinelli (@RicRuffinelli1) November 17, 2019
They were rude then and still rude now. This should be brought up to pac12. The conference should penalize band that is blatantly disrespectful and rude.— Perry H (@pierreJaune) November 17, 2019
A representative told The Times in an email that the Trojan Marching Band Alumni Association will make a donation to Turner’s GoFundMe Memorial Page.