26-year-old college junior Robert Champion, who attended Florida A&M University and was drum major of the prestigious “Marching 100” band, collapsed and died on Nov. 19. Now, many believe his death was a result of hazing.
Champion collapsed on a bus parked outside an Orlando, Fla., hotel. He had been vomiting and complained that he couldn't breathe shortly before he became unconscious.
Authorities believe Champion’s death was a direct result of the culture of ‘Hazing’ that has been going on in the band for the last 20 years.
Champion’s parents have begun to take legal action against the University, suing the school and citing that their son died as a result of a suspected hazing accident.
Julian White, the 71-year-old director of Florida A&M's famed "Marching 100" band, said he repeatedly warned university leaders about the dangers of hazing, even suspending 26 students, and that he's been made the scapegoat for Champion's death.
White claims his reports of illegal hazing were repeatedly ignored by the school and parents. Julian has since been fired from his prestigious position at the school.
According to ESPN, hazing has a long history in marching bands, particularly at historically Black colleges, where a spot in the band is coveted for its tradition and prominence.
HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumble did a story on the deathly dangerous of hazing and how it affects many students.
FAMU has been at the center of some of the worst cases. In 2001, former band member Marcus Parker suffered kidney damage because of a beating with a paddle. Three years earlier, clarinet player Ivery Luckey said he was paddled around 300 times and had to go to the hospital.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Robert Champion's family as they cope with the loss of their son.