Painted Posse makes statement on airbrushed photo

Edited Photo (Source: LSU Athletics)
Edited Photo (Source: LSU Athletics)
Unedited Photo (Source: LSU Athletics)
Unedited Photo (Source: LSU Athletics)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After an airbrushed photograph sent out by LSU gained attention from all over, the group involved has released a statement.

The original picture was taken at a football game between LSU and South Carolina. In it, you can see the group "Painted Posse" has crosses painted over their hearts. In the edited picture, the crosses on all four men are gone.

University Relations sent out the edited picture in an email to all the students who attended the game.

"This was just a promotional email to fans thanking them for coming to the game and soliciting feedback on their experience of the game," said LSU's Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations Herb Vincent.

But the picture was edited and the crosses were airbrushed out, which offended some students on campus.

Your ticket that gets you in the stadium has a clause in it that allows the university to do this. It reads, "User grants the SEC non-exclusive, transferable, perpetual right and license to use his or her name and likeness if it is included in any broadcast, photograph, or other media of the event."

Vincent said they do Photoshop and airbrush pictures for better overall quality just like they did in 2000 to make Nick Saban look thinner on the cover of the media guide.

This picture though, Vincent said was not meant to offend anyone.

"When we sent out a communication to our sports fans, we don't like to send out any message that may be interpreted as a political message or religious message or anything like that so that's why the airbrushing was done on the photograph. If we had to do it all over again, we'd probably just pick another photograph," said Vincent.

It's been at least 10 years "The Painted Posse" group has been painting their bodies with crosses at LSU.

The following statement was released Tuesday afternoon:

"In light of the recent airbrushing of our crosses by LSU staff members and the discussion that has followed, the Painted Posse – a group of Christian LSU students – would like to thank the public for the outpouring of support both for the group and for Christ.

Please allow us to clear up some confusion and make certain that our ideals and intentions are not misconstrued by individuals, members of the media, or the university that we love. The University has reached out to our group and apologized for this incident. The following statement should be considered the last such communication from any Posse member regarding the "cross airbrushing" incident. Collectively, we thank you for your understanding.

'We, the members of the Painted Posse, do not agree with the University's recent decision to airbrush crosses out of the photo of some of our members. We also respect the opinions of those who do not agree with us. Despite what happened, our main focus is to represent Christ. This Christ is our Savior who died on a cross to save us from sin, was raised again, and now lives in our lives. Our goal as the Painted Posse is to portray Christ through our actions while cheering on our Tigers! Our group will return to our normal seats, with our normal, painted uniforms on November 3rd, wholeheartedly supporting our Tigers. We are humbled by the many who have shown support for our beliefs, but we would encourage all fellow members of the LSU family to please switch the focus from this story and the Posse to supporting our beloved university.

We encourage anyone who would like to honor Jesus Christ to join us by wearing a cross on November 3rd. We strongly discourage the wearing of a cross as a way to protest the university or its recent decision. We desire that no further negative light would be shone upon the university that we love. We acknowledge the efforts of the LSU administration and look forward to serving the university as both fans and students.

Let's unite all Tiger supporters as we prepare for the biggest game of the year. May we, as the LSU family, support our Tigers with all the fervor of the South Carolina game and much more! Bring. On. Bama.'"

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