at's just a part of adopting the culture, adopting Oklahoma. Eventually there's this huge fan base growing in the Hispanic community.”
In the last several years, Hispanic OU fans have also had the added benefit of seeing Hispanic players Jacob Gutierrez and Juaquin Iglesias star on the field for the Sooners. Gutierrez, a senior running back from San Antonio, has been a team leader on and off the field. The special teams' captain and running back is heavily involved in community outreach, and has received several awards for his work.
"I'm pretty proud of them to go through there and make it as good as they have,” said lifelong OU fan Vincent Sigala, 23, of Gutierrez and Iglesias. "Gutierrez is a really stand-up guy in the community, and Iglesias is having a great year on the field.”
Sigala said he always tries to see the players' last names on their jerseys to see if they're Hispanic or not.
Cowboys up as well
Of course, you can't mention OU football without talking about Oklahoma State. While the Cowboys may not be as widely supported in the Hispanic community, they do have a significant following. A number of Oklahoma City area Hispanics — especially college-student-age — are Oklahoma State fans, largely as a result of the OSU-OKC campus efforts to recruit Hispanic students, Martinez-Brooks said.
Erik Rodriguez' older sister Violeta Rodriguez is one of those students. In her second year at OSU-OKC, Violeta is the vice-president of the school's Hispanic Student Association, which sends volunteers to raise funds for the association at OSU football games in Stillwater. While she is supportive of the Cowboys — she sports an OSU tag on her car and went to most of the games last year — she has all but given up trying to cheer inside her home, where OU still rules.
"There wouldn't be a point for me trying to watch the game, or make a statement if I even dared to say anything about OSU,” Violeta said, laughing. "My (OSU) tag fell in the driveway one day and I was like, ‘How come nobody picked it up?' They were like, ‘Oh, it's not a big deal.' Now if it's an OU shirt lying around the house, they're like ‘We've got to wash it, come on now.'”
In the Brooks' household — where Michael graduated from Oklahoma State before going to OU for law school — things are slightly more amicable. He now cheers for both schools, and the couple has attended bowl games of both teams.