USC band apologizes for playing during tribute to late Cal player

The USC marching band participates in the Rose Parade on Jan. 2, 2017.
(Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)

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.


The team announced it would honor Turner during its game against USC on Saturday night, with his family in attendance at Memorial Stadium.

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.

Many fans did not accept the apology and expressed their beliefs that the incident was anything but inadvertent.


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.