ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Taunting is a part of the game for fans at The Pit, just like it is at just about any other college or high school arena, stadium or ballpark.
On the court, Lobo basketball has played itself into the national rankings in spite of or because of it. But a string of alleged racism, death wishes and fans throwing trash at players has surrounded UNM hoops off the court.
The latest incident of bad fan behavior came in a sexual taunt targeted at Lobo star Cameron Bairstow’s sister, Utah State player Stephanie Bairstow.
At UNM’s 68-56 win over UNLV last week, several fans held up signs with Stephanie Bairstow’s Facebook profile picture and the text “I took Bairstow’s sister’s V-card,” referring to her virginity. That didn’t stop her brother from finishing second among all scorers with 18 points in the contest.
After Cameron Bairstow’s dominating performance against San Diego State on Saturday drew national honors, Jarrett Leger, a graphic designer who does work for UNLV’s student section, took things a step further. Leger posted a montage of people holding the poster with a caption “We all had sexual relations with that woman – Signed UNLV students.”
On Tuesday night, fans in the Lobo student section said bringing a player’s relative into the picture crossed the line.
“It should’ve never been brought up,” said Jenna Espinoza, a junior who helps run the student section as part of the Howl Raisers.
UNM freshman Kyle Biederwolf said, “It shows they have no class.”
On her Twitter account, Stephanie Bairstow expressed a mixture of disgust and amusement that the taunt didn’t affect her brother’s performance.
“I’m halfway between hysterical laughter and never wanting to leave my house again,” wrote Stephanie Bairstow.
As mentioned, this isn’t the first time bad fan behavior has swirled around Lobo hoops this year.
Before the season even started, the San Diego State student section wished further infection via Twitter for Cullen Neal after the UNM freshman had to have an emergency appendectomy. Last week, a UNLV fan came under fire for his allegedly racist depiction of Lobo Jamal Fenton on a leash on a poster. After a scuffle between UNM and SDSU players following Saturday’s game, Lobo fans were caught on camera throwing trash at SDSU players heading to the locker room.
KRQE News 13 requested comment from the Mountain West Conference and commissioner Craig Thompson but were declined an interview or a statement. UNM did not respond to an interview request for athletic director Paul Krebs.
Images of UNLV fans with the signs shown in the story were taken by Jarrett Leger.