FAMU Marching Band Returns To Football Field After Hazing Death Suspension

Source: Kyle Hightower / AP / theGrio

ORLANDO, Fla. — Nearly two years after a drum major’s hazing death silenced the music at Florida A&M football games, the famed Marching 100 band returned to the field Sunday with its familiar booms, drum rattles and other tones for the school’s season-opener.

It was the band’s first game appearance since a season-long suspension. The scrutiny following Robert Champion’s 2011 death thrust the school into the national spotlight and led to more than a dozen arrests and the resignation of top officials.

As the band marched into the Florida Citrus Bowl, fans stood and cheered, and some had tears in their eyes. Alumni said they celebrated the reappearance of a school symbol whose absence caused a core of its fan base to stay away on game days.

“They did have to be punished — if you want to say that,” 1985 FAMU graduate Cedric Crawford said. “But it’s great to have them back.

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