Michigan State has suspended an employee involved in an incident over the weekend where an image of Adolf Hitler was shown on the stadium video boards more than an hour before Saturday’s game against Michigan.
Michigan athletic director Alan Haller released a lengthy statement on Sunday night condemning the “offensive image” that was displayed at Spartan Stadium just before kickoff.
In addition to issuing an apology, Haller also said an unnamed employee was suspended with pay after an initial investigation into the incident.
“Ultimately, it is my responsibility to make sure all those who interact with Spartan Athletics feel safe, valued and respected.”
“The image was harmful to our communities, especially our Jewish community which is currently experiencing a rise in antisemitism, including acts of violence.”
Haller explained that while Michigan State “is responsible for all content shown on its video boards,” the video displayed Saturday was “not viewed in its entirety by anyone in athletics, exposing a failure in our process.”
The video in question was a quiz from the YouTube channel “The Quiz Channel,” and reportedly featured a trivia question about Hitler’s birthplace.
According to The Associated Press, the creator and producer of the channel, Floris van Pallandt, said the school did not ask for permission to use his content or pay him for it and defended his decision to include the question on his platform.
“It’s an absolutely normal trivia question, shown in an inappropriate setting,” Pallandt wrote. “Ignoring the dark facets of history is by no means the answer, on the contrary.”
Haller said the investigation will continue and the employee will remain suspended with pay pending its results.
“Antisemitism must be denounced. The image displayed prior to Saturday night’s game is not representative of who we are and the culture we embody. Nevertheless, we must own our failures and accept responsibility. I understand our response might be met with skepticism. That skepticism is warranted, and we will do all that is necessary to earn back your trust.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.