Fortunately, the crack news team at Fox 8 "decoded" the cryptic racially charged message as a phenomenon that originated from this heretofore unknown organization known as "the internet."
Sign Ignites Controversy After High School Football Game
By Emily Valdez
Fox 8 News Reporter
10:27 PM EDT, September 3, 2011
Kirtland crushed Painesville Harvey during Friday night's high school football game, but it was what happened after the game that has people talking.
"At the conclusion of the game, some of their students and parents put up a sign that we believe was racial intimidation, ethnic intimidation," said Roderick Coffee, president of the Lake County chapter of the NAACP, who was also at the game.
"For them to put it up there that was bad sportsmanship, too," Painesville Harvey football player, Jerome Becks said.
The big sign read: 'You Mad Bro.'
"I think the reference to 'bro' in the sign definitely has a racial connection to it," said Michael Hanlon, superintendent for Painesville City Schools.
No doubt, the sign offended people.
But some don't believe it was meant to be racist.
"I really don't I think the kids were just trying to say, 'Are you mad?' But you still don't need to put a sign up like that, and there's so many parents that felt the same way I did," Kirtland parent, Edie Cymbal said.
According to the Urban Dictionary, which is basically the online Wikipedia of slang, the phrase 'you mad bro?' means "To make a ragin [sic] person rage even more by asking the most ironic question."
To use an older slang phrase, kicking someone when they are down.
Kirtland High School Principal Lynn Campbell says there will be a thorough investigation.
"Any mal-intent at any game no matter where, is not supported, you know, the lack of sportsmanship, from taunting to insensitivity," Campbell said.
Controversial 'You Mad Bro' Sign Decoded?
By Emily Valdez
Fox 8 News Reporter
8:24 PM EDT, September 6, 2011
Controversy over a sign held up after a high school football game could be a sign of the times.
Young people using web-centric lingo IRL (in real life) to people who don't speak the language.
The two worlds collided at Friday's high school football game between Kirtland at Painesville Harvey.
As many found out, not everyone speaks web, and the message can get lost in translation.
"Our students are guilty of being unsportsmanlike and insensitive in the context they were in, but I don't think their intent was to hurt folks," Kirtland Schools Superintendent Steven Barrett said.
After the game, some people on the winning Kirtland side held up a sign that read 'you mad bro.'
Some, including Roderick Coffee, a pastor and the president of the Lake County NAACP, took the term as having racist undertones.
The FOX 8 story went viral on the web.
Tens of thousands of webbies sounded-off on what most describe as an often-used, and non-racial, message board term called a 'meme.'
"The phrase 'you mad bro' is sort of a viral phrase. It's all over the internet. There's 30 or 40 sites you can order a 'you mad bro?' t-shirt," Barrett said.
Andrew Couts from digitaltrends.com explained the meaning in 'real life' terms.
"'You mad bro' is something someone who we call on the internet 'trolls' use to make people more angry. It's used when someone is already angry and you you say it just to make them more angry," Couts said.
Barrett and Painesville Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Hanlon agreed this is a language lesson for all.
"I think the impact on a person or a group of people based on a statement can have an unintended consequence," Hanlon said.
Coffee said he now knows the phrase is an internet term, but he's not convinced that's the whole story.
"I am still of the opinion that there was racial undertones, overtones, to the comment based upon the culture of our community we live in," Coffee said.
School officials said by law they cannot comment if the students who held the sign up the sign will be disciplined for poor sportsmanship.