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A Few Thoughts On The Duke Student Section “How’s Your Grandma?” (Alleged) Chant Controversy


Duke beat N.C. State last night 98-85, avenging an earlier loss. Duke’s student section was spirited, as it normally is. In a less normal development, however, some accusations were levied at the student section during and after the game – accusations that, if true, would brand the student section less as “spirited” and more as “terrible.” Specifically:

Obviously, that would be bad, low-class, etc., if they’d done that, and some were all too eager to jump at the chance to hate Duke even more than they already did. But Did fans actually chant that? There’s some video of Lewis-heckling from last night, from when he was at the line during the second half:

To me, that chant sounds like “Past your bedtime,” and I’m not alone there. And OK, for a baby-faced guy like Lewis, that chant’s kind of amusing. So does that settle it? Are Duke students the greatest superfans on earth, relentless but always knowing when to stop and generally capable of doing no wrong? Well, maybe not exactly. Via BSO:

Well, that settles it then: Duke fans are the worst and if you didn’t hate Duke before, you’d better hate ‘em now. Right?

Well, no again, in fact. The guy cited in the above tweet described the offenders as a “handful of dumb college kids.” And I know a thing or two about a handful of dumb college kids ruining it for everyone else – because that exact scenario played out at Rutgers in 2007, back when I was a student and the (relatively few) “F— you Navy” chanters caused a ruckus. That chant is bad for many reasons: it sounds like it’s directed at the entire branch of the armed forces and not just a football team, and it’s also almost criminally unfunny, and not clever in the least. Those who did it, just like the few who supposedly chanted about Tyler Lewis’s dead grandma, deserve(d) scorn.

But not many people did it. By all means, hate Duke. There are so many reasons – all the winning, the insufferable snooty private school air around the program, the idea that Duke operates with an integrity other places don’t, Mike Krzyzewski’s many bouts of total dickishness, crushing what would have been an amazing story of Butler winning the title three years ago. You don’t need to manufacture a reason to loathe Duke, and acting like a bunch of people chanted something terrible just because you hope they did is a made-up reason to hate something if I’ve ever heard it.

Getty photo, by Streeter Lecka


  • http://twitter.com/DukeTruth Truth About Duke

    If it weren’t for the fact that Tyler Lewis’ dad confirmed that it was said, your post would be ok. If it was only one person, that is one too many. Since only a “few” people did it, it is ok? Priceless.

  • rfnrfjn

    They never actually said that! What utter BS

  • Anonymous

    No. Not that it’s okay – that a few idiots doing it is not a good reason to hate Duke as a whole. There are many, many better reasons to hate Duke.

  • NC

    Parents need to do a better job raising their kids….this is what popping them in front of the tv (or letting video games raise them) does!
    karma is really a _____and these kids are due some.
    Pathetic

  • Anonymous

    I was once walking down the street, holding hands with my then 5 year old son, wearing a Duke sweatshirt when a young man in a car stopped at a stoplight, rolled down his window and said, “Fuck you, Duke!”. The car had a Holy Cross sticker on the back windshield and the young man looked to be college age. This incident upset my son very much. I do not hold the entire student body of Holy Cross responsible for that young man’s actions. That son is now a freshman at Duke. I called him this morning to ask about the chant. He didn’t say it. He didn’t hear anybody else say it. Did perhaps a couple of students say it? As a former Duke student myself, sometimes I heard chants that took me awhile to pick up on what was being said when I was actually in Cameron. And sometimes, even though I was there, I got it wrong. Tyler Lewis’s father may have heard what he thought he heard and he may not have. Same with Nolan Evans. But the surest proof that it didn’t happen in any kind of organized way? Coach K didn’t stop it. Love him or hate him, one thing Coach K will always do, is stop chants that cross the line. I’ve been in Cameron when it’s happened.

  • http://twitter.com/rickydiculous rickydiculous

    dood who wrote this article really? a snarky back handed, “maybe they did, maybe they didn’t” defense is lame as all get out. shame on you (especially for, “… and not clever in the least.” so a taunt of “how’s your *dead* grandma is clever?!) and shame on these students

  • Anonymous

    1) ‘dood who wrote this article really?’ – my name’s in the byline, dood.

    2) ‘especially for, “… and not clever in the least.” so a taunt of “how’s your *dead* grandma is clever?!’ – I didn’t say anything even close to this. You misread, dood.

  • Switzerland

    Great story except it accomplishes nothing. What happened with your son is unfortunate but that is the world we live in today. I saw the video and as TL shot the second free throw, I heard “Hows your grandma?” and not just from a few distant voices but from a loud, collective voice. The worst part about this whole incident is the blatant denial of the event by The Chronicle. I guess the rarified air all of the “smarter” than most dookies live in makes it impossible for them to commit an act so deplorable.

  • Anonymous

    Except, you know what? When I first heard this story, I called my son to give him hell for participating, if he did. He didn’t, he didn’t hear anybody else doing it, and he was upset that he was being accused of something that he did not do. I was continuing to be a good parent who has raised a pretty decent son. Yes, he goes to Duke. He’s a smart and dedicated student who happens to love college basketball, why shouldn’t he go to Duke? Kids at Duke didn’t start calling themselves the Cameron Crazies – that’s ESPN’s doing. There are a whole lot of people who use the myth of the Cameron Crazies to further their own agendas, this website included. But “Duke students” are not some monolithic entity that exists as a whole. Karmic payback – really? You think every student who is at Duke now or has ever been there deserves some kind of karmic payback? I think that most of them deserve an apology.

  • http://twitter.com/rickydiculous rickydiculous

    why even raise the point of one chant being not clever? Maybe your remark was not intended to read as if giving credence to the dead grandma remark by calling out the lack of whit in the other you raised, but your confused clarity in writing style certainly leads one in that direction.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Those who did it, just like the few who supposedly chanted about Tyler Lewis’s dead grandma, deserve(d) scorn.’ – I called them two different versions of the same thing.

  • Vanessia Barnett

    NOT THE ENTIRE STORY FOLKS. Read the FACTS: The planned cheer was “Past Your Bed Time” (since Tyler Lewis is a Freshman) however, a small group (not in the student section) were overheard shouting “How’s your Grandma”. Please don’t lump the Cameron Crazies with a bunch of ‘knuckleheads”. Here is a statement from the NCSU bench as reported on WTVD Raleigh-Durham “We did not hear “How’s your grandma” and we don’t believe there was any organized chant on the part of the Duke student section.” The story has been set straight and is no longer an issue SO STOP POSTING FALSE INFORMATION.

  • Anonymous

    I listened to the same video and heard “Past your bedtime”. I do not think your ears are better than mine. I do think it’s possible that we both heard what we wanted to hear. Neither one of us can claim with absolute certainty what was said. My point in telling the story was twofold, 1) Duke students do not have a corner on the market when it comes to obnoxious fans and 2) “Duke student” is not a monolithic entity. Are there some obnoxious Duke fans? Of course there are. The same is true with every fan base for every team. Do Duke students get more attention during basketball season than fans of other schools? Yes. They do. Why? Cause ESPN makes a lot of money from broadcasting Duke games. And websites like this one can ride the Duke hate to get more hits and more comments and more traffic. The worst part of the story is The Chronicle’s blatant denial? Yeah, sorry, but no, because the cheer did not happen in an organized fashion. The worst part of the story is lumping all Duke students, once again, into some large, single-minded group of kids who think and speak and act as one. It is not impossible for a single Duke student to commit an act so deplorable, true. It is, however, impossible for all of them to have done so at the same time last night.


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