Stephen Ellison

Stanford Student in Football Ad Targeted by Insults

Muslim woman and friends were pictured in a promotion for Cardinal football that appeared on Facebook

A black Muslim Stanford student who was the subject of insults and hate messages after a candid photograph of her and her friends appeared on a Cardinal football promotional ad is pushing back.

Last October, Tesay Yusuf and her friends were in the stands, enjoying a Stanford-Washington college football game, supporting their school and team. The image was captured and turned up a couple of weeks ago in an ad for a VIP football experience at Stanford. Yusuf was wearing a hijab.

Initially, Yusuf was surprised and proud.

"I thought it was awesome; it was exciting, like, oh, we get to represent Stanford," she said.

Then, after the ad appeared on Facebook, the insults started pouring in.

"You had to throw a Muslim in there, didn't you. Disgusting. Not one white person in that ad. Screw stanford," one comment said.

Another Facebook user remarked, "Hey stanford, take the Buslim bull---- elsewhere, we don't wanna see it."

Yusuf said she brushed off the comments at first. But they kept coming, and she thinks she knows why.

"Our political climate currently and the things that are spewed in politics, kind of at a level that seems to be disconnected from normal day-to-day life," she said. "It does trickle down to normal day-to-day life."

Yusuf has pushed back, tweeting out verbatim some of the insults and shaming the haters. She's found far more supporters than detractors. But a part of her remains disapppointed.

"Why do they think that they get to dictate what I could do as a woman, as a muslim, as a black muslim woman?" Yusuf said. "It's disapointing that people had so much hate but they didn't have enough knowledge."

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