(Chip, the University of Colorado Buffaloes mascot, appearing in only vaguely less flamboyant Mardi Gras attire last year)

The University of Colorado has issued an official apology for the appearance of Chip, its mascot buffalo, in gangsta-themed attire Friday during a “kid’s night” promotion at a Nuggets basketball game in Denver’s Pepsi Center.

From the Rocky Mountain News via the Boulder Daily Camera:

The fuzzy, cartoon-like buffalo had replaced his trademark CU clothing with a white T-shirt and baggy pants, a do-rag and fake gold teeth. The costume also included a graphic of a teardrop tattoo below one eye. The tattoo is commonly associated with gang activity, often signifying that the wearer has killed someone

“It was, basically, every stereotypical thing you could think of,” CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said. “It ended up being a gang-style persona, and that’s just unacceptable.”

Hilliard said two CU student volunteers who have played the part of Chip since at least August of last year came up with the costume. He declined to name the students, saying officials wanted to have the opportunity to decide on an appropriate action first.

“Because they’ve represented Chip before, they should have known better,” Hilliard said…”We want to apologize to the general public for this, to Nuggets fans and to Buffs fans. This does not represent our values.”

Though the students in question who “represent” Chip are no doubt eligible for numerous social rehabilitation programs on campus, there is no word yet as to the availability of painful mascot tattoo removal procedures in Boulder County.