COURAGE: Terror Fears Totally Won’t Keep Ohio State Mascot Brutus Buckeye Out Of Gay Pride Parade

Ohio State mascot Getty Images /Jamie Sabau

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Ohio State University’s perky, nut-shaped mascot — Brutus Buckeye — will participate in this weekend’s Columbus Pride Parade and Festival despite concerns among school officials about the possibility of terrorism.

Earlier this week, Ohio State University spirit staffers decided to cancel the mascot’s appearance at the local gay pride parade after a Muslim terrorist massacred 49 people in an Orlando night club this weekend — and a massively-armed gay man was arrested in Santa Monica, California on Sunday while on his way to the L.A. Pride festival. (RELATED: Both This Weekend’s Terror Suspects Are Gay, Friends Of Each Say)

The spirit coaching staff delivered news of the decision in a brief email, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

“As a coaching staff, we have to protect our athletes to the fullest extent,” assistant spirit coach Siobhan St. John said in the email, according to Outlook Ohio Magazine.

“We appreciate all of the work that has gone into this and look forward to helping next year.”

On Thursday, however, the Ohio State administration had a change of heart.

“After additional consultation and reviews, the spirit program has decided to reinstate Brutus Buckeye in the Columbus Pride Festival and Parade,” Ohio State media relations staffers said in a statement.

The mascot will march alongside school president Michael Drake.

Months ago, the Columbus Ohio Gay Lesbian Ally Hockey Association had invited Brutus Buckeye as well as other local mascots to attend the parade, which is slated for Saturday.

When the Ohio State mascot temporarily bailed, association members said they were saddened.

“It’s a big surprise to us,” association president Doug Massey told the Dispatch prior to the decision to reinstate Brutus. “We’re disappointed, but we understand. There’s no hard feelings, no resentment.”

The decision to scratch Brutus Buckeye has been met with some derision. For example:

However, all was never lost for people who want to see sports mascots at the Columbus gay pride parade. The mascots of the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team, the Columbus Crew soccer team and the Columbus Clippers minor league baseball team were always going to participate in the parade.

Also, according to the Facebook page of the Columbus Ohio Gay Lesbian Ally Hockey Association, Ohio University’s mascot — Rufus the Bobcat — was asked to be on hand at Saturday’s parade to fill the college mascot void.

Ohio University mascot Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

“We’d also like to welcome the Q Spirit Squad, courtesy of the Lake Erie Monsters, who will walking (and backflipping!) and handing out some awesome Monsters swag,” the Facebook page added.

The chief of police in Columbus, Kim Jacobs, promised that security will be heightened for the parade.

Organizers are expecting a big turnout.

“We feel this is going to be one of the safest and biggest Prides we’ve had,” Karla Rothan, executive director of Stonewall Columbus, told the Dispatch. “People who haven’t marched in years are coming out to march in solidarity.”

Rothan added that she had no knowledge of specific terror threats against Brutus the Buckeye.

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(Ohio U. mascot credit: Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox)