Several fans of the Naval Academy as well as current and former servicemen and women who attended the Pitt-Navy game Saturday at Heinz Field were upset that music over the PA system began playing as soon as the game ended, drowning out the traditional singing of the Navy alma mater.
The practice is generally met with reverence, and even moments of silence, out of respect for the unique dual role that the student-athletes of Navy are in as football players and future members of our armed forces.
Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson addressed the issue yesterday and said that it was an honest mistake on Pitt's part that the music began in anticipation of the fireworks show.
"The University of Pittsburgh and U.S. Naval Academy have shared a wonderful tradition on the football field together for many years," Pederson said via an e-mail. "The recent revival of the Pitt-Navy series has been enthusiastically received by our university and fans. It was an honor to host the Midshipmen Saturday night and we hope for the opportunity to do so again in the near future.
"It has come to our attention that a miscommunication at the end of Saturday's game led to some confusion during the singing of Navy's alma mater. We have the utmost respect for this honored tradition and sincerely apologize for any impressions to the contrary."
Paul Zeise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .