SAN ANTONIO — There is controversy following the Saturday night football game between the UTSA Roadrunners and the Army West Point Black Knights.
UTSA's Director of Bands Ron Ellis is apologizing after fans said the UTSA band acted disrespectfully following Saturday's showdown against Army West Point.
It was the military appreciation game. After the game, UTSA played its school song. Then, when the Army West Point band started playing its alma mater, UTSA’s band broke in with another song.
Ellis, in a letter, said "inadvertently, and completely unintentionally, the beginning of that medley was played as the Army team, band, and fans were completing the West Point Alma Mater."
He said it was a mistake.
"At no time was there any intent to cover up, impede, or disrespect, in any way whatsoever, the Army team, coaches, band, fans, alumni and those in that immediate area as they completed their moment together at the end of the game," he said.
Retired Army Colonel Sam Houston recorded the moment.
"Although it didn't reflect the game, but was happened at the end was a very disrespectful moment," he said.
Houston said his team paid its respects during UTSA's song, and they expected the same.
"There is just one thing that is you just do not disrespect is the West Point alma mater," he said. "Whether we are singing first or singing second, we stand at attention."
Houston said everything before that moment at the game was gracious. However, he doesn't buy the apology. "This is something to the appearance of all who were there, at least from Army's side, an intentional attempt to drown out the West Point alma mater," he said.
Houston said it was also disrespectful the UTSA football players ran into the locker room after its school song, and didn't stay on the field during the Army West Point school song.
Full Letter from Ron Ellis
Saturday evening, after a very hard-fought football contest between The Army Black Knights and the UTSA Roadrunners, an error occurred.
Following the UTSA Spirit of San Antonio’s playing of the school’s alma mater, and a brief break, the ensemble was then counted off into their normal post-game concert (in this instance, re-playing of their salute to armed forces medley that was a part of this games “Military Salute”), by me.
Inadvertently, and completely unintentionally, the beginning of that medley was played as the Army team, band, and fans were completing the West Point Alma Mater.
This was a mistake.
At no time was there any intent to cover up, impede, or disrespect, in any way whatsoever, the Army team, coaches, band, fans, alumni and those in that immediate area as they completed their moment together at the end of the game.
As the director of the UTSA Spirit of San Antonio, this unfortunate mistake falls on me and I take full responsibility for its occurrence.
I would like to formally apologize for any ill feelings that this may have caused, and that it may have caused a poor moment for the University of Texas at San Antonio, and the students that take part in our marching band.
I believe that up until that moment, the games military events were appropriate, celebratory and handled with respect and admiration, because that is what we feel we owe those that have chosen to serve.
I will also extend this apology to the Army team, their entire staff, the band and the administration through private channels.
Myself and the UTSA Spirit of San Antonio members live and learn in a military city. Almost every one of us has at least one family member or friend that serves, or has served in each of the armed forces. We look forward to our military salute each and every year. For some of us, it is the most important show we are privileged to present each fall.
I will work my hardest to make sure that something like this does not happen again.
Associate Professor of Music
Director of Bands
The University of Texas at San Antonio