NEW ORLEANS — The LSU gymnastics team is back home in Baton Rouge with the silver medal, as the NCAA National Runner-Ups this past weekend. It was the highest finishing score in school history.
But for some, that was no reason to celebrate, setting off a debate on social media.
It was the Easter billboard that sparked great emotions on both sides. There were those who were proud of the Tiger gymnastics team for its second-place finish at the NCAA championships, and those who thought the huge congratulatory message for being the runner-ups, was inappropriate.
One comment sparked outrage and praise from the purple and gold fans. It came from national sports reporter Darren Rovell who tweeted "No, you can't put up a billboard for coming in second."
Monday he defended his position on "Off the Bench" 104.5 FM in Baton Rouge.
"If LSU Baseball had a runner-up billboard, you guys would be slamming it now until the end of time," Rovell said on air.
He said he won't apologize, and says he's not hurting student athletes or denigrating their accomplishments. His position is it's an incredible accomplishment, but a lot of money is spent on LSU athletics, and coaches are highly paid, and there is an expectation to win and they didn't.
"If you want to say greatest four-year run in the history of our program, if you want to say congratulations, if you want to say thanks for supporting us for a great season, all good," he said.
LSU gymnastics head coach D-D Breaux said through LSU Athletics, that commenting on the billboard controversy would only take away from the success of the team. She said, "We gave it all we had, and there is nothing wrong with finishing second to a great Oklahoma team. I am taking a lot of pride in this second-place finish and great season."