Internet humor crossed over into the realm of the real world, and immediately started causing trouble this weekend, after a group of high schoolers held up a giant sign reading “You mad bro?” during a football game in Painesville, Ohio, on Friday night.
For the uninitiated, the phrase “you mad bro?” is a meme used primarily to incite anger in someone who’s already red in the face. It’s a classic troll tactic that’s been around for ages, at least online.
According to Fox 8 News, a group of students “and parents” from Kirtland High School held up a large sign decorated, with the words “You mad bro?,” which was directed at the opposing team, Painesville Harvey, who, of course, had just lost the game. Because the sign said “bro,” and because the majority of the Painesville Harvey players are black, some believed the sign was a racist statement.
“At the conclusion of the game, some of their students and parents put up a sign that we believe was racial intimidation, ethnic intimidation,” said Roderick Coffee, president of the local NAACP chapter, who also attended the game.
The Kirkland High School principal even said that the school plans to conduct a thorough investigation into whether the sign had “mal-intent” toward the Painesville Harvey players.
Of course, anyone who’s spent much time commenting on any number of websites knows that the “You mad bro?” meme, or any of its variations, has nothing to do with race, whatsoever. Is it insensitive and unsportsmanlike? Absolutely. Trolls are, by their very nature, insensitive. That’s what makes them trolls, online or off. Should there be an investigation? Sure — especially since it’s likely to end with stuffy school administrators having to sift through the hilarious filth of 4chan, which would make this whole saga possibly the greatest troll ever concocted.
Watch a report about the incident: