30 September 2023

False: This vulgar message targeting Biden in US stadium is digitally altered

The original message reads “Home of the 12th Man” in reference to a Texas A&M tradition.

A Twitter post on Oct. 9 claimed that a stadium in the U.S. was displaying a message that reads “F*ck Joe Biden” with a photo showing a cheering crowd above and below the sign.

The tweet gained 199 likes, 76 retweets and 8 comments in two days but the account has since been suspended from the platform and the tweet is no longer available.

The image has been manipulated to change the original lettering, which, in fact, was “Home of the 12th Man.”

An image search reveals that the original photo was taken by Bob Levey from Getty Images on Sept. 4, 2021, about one month earlier than the questionable tweet.

Its captions say the photo shows the student section at Kyle Field stadium in Texas. Texas A&M University’s American football team played against Kent State University that day as A&M’s first game of the national collegiate football season.

According to a website called The History of the 12th Man, showing the “12th Man” lettering is a tradition at Texas A&M University. It refers to former American football player E. King Gill, who suited up as a reserve during the 1922 Dixie Classic after most players were injured.

The term was trademarked by the university in 1990.  The lettering found at Kyle Field was originally donated by the Class of 1988 and updated in 2018, according to the university.

The original photograph was taken from Getty Images
The original photograph, captured on Sept. 4, 2021, was taken from Getty Images.
The original banner was also seen on Oct. 9 at a football game
Zooming into a photograph posted by Texas A&M Football on Oct. 9, the original banner can be seen above the student section.

On the day the tweet in question with the altered image was published, Kyle Field hosted another American football game against Alabama University.

A photo posted by the official Texas A&M Football Twitter account on that day shows “Home of the 12th Man” being displayed at the stadium. Video footage of the game from American broadcaster CBS also shows the original words.

This concludes that the sign was the same “Home of the 12th Man”, on both the day the photo was taken or the tweet was posted. This claim has also been fact-checked by checkyourfact.com here.

While the vulgar message was not displayed as the questionable post suggested, some students were heard chanting “f*** Joe Biden” and other obscenities at the game on Sept. 4, according to Texas A&M student newspaper The Battalion.

In response, Head Yell leader Memo Salinas issued a letter four days later, asking students to maintain respect and sportsmanship during sporting events.

Media reports say “F*** Joe Biden” chants can be heard at large-scale events across the U.S., including American football games and music concerts.

BBC says after a Nascar race in Alabama on Oct. 2, the same profanity was chanted by crowds during driver Brandon Brown’s interview.

As of Oct 20, the average approval rating of President Joe Biden in the U.S. has dropped to 43.8% from 51.5% on Aug. 1, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Both the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August and the treatment of Haitian migrants by Texas Border Patrol agents in September were seen as contributing factors towards Biden’s recent decline in popularity.

Federal Covid-19 vaccine mandates have also been met with opposition from Republican lawmakers.

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