Apparently girls sports in upstate New York are out of control lately. Just a couple of months ago, there was a story out of the region of a girl’s basketball team that chanted “Nigger” before running out on the court despite complaints from the lone Black player on the team.
Now, we have another story from the region about lacrosse players lobbing racial slurs in the midst of a blowout game. Clearly, when folks are ‘leaving it all on the field’ that includes their racial prejudices.
During an 18-4 blowout where Clarence Middle School was beating Sweet Home Middle School, tempers started to flare and racial epithets were tossed back and forth more than scrunchies and ponytails. Four girls on the Sweet Home team, two African American and two Bi-Racial, claim that Clarence players called them “Nigger” to their faces during the match and were not shy about using other racially offensive terms as well.
Clarence Superintendent Geoffery Hicks investigated the claims and found that there was enough evidence to warrant a punishment of 4 games against the Clarence Middle School team. While the names of the specific offending players were not mentioned, Hicks felt that the entire team deserved some form of punishment and the 23 girls on the squad, including one African American, will lose 4 games and be required to go to sensitivity training.
Needless to say the message boards on local news reports of this story are aflame with angry parents claiming this is unfair to Clarence and that there was taunting on both sides – yet, only the wealthy kids (apparently Clarence is considered a rich or rich-ER kid’s school) are being punished.
The sad part about events like this is that in reality there likely was taunting on both sides, but the side that goes over the line the loudest and the worst often takes the larger blame. Sports, even highschool sports can be pretty intense, kids yell at each other, fight, and curse … essentially mimicking the poor behavior of their parents in the stands. However, a line has to be drawn somewhere. In some cases schools have a zero tolerance policy on any profanity at games, amongst players or fans, or some schools are very strict about taunting, and in some cases racial slurs are also part of the “no trash talking” initiatives that schools are starting.
The fact is that racial attacks on sports fields are not uncommon. But, we are increasingly hearing about such behavior from some White fans against minority players; from Pee-Wee football games where White fans put on “Blackface;” the almost comically racially insulting Linsanity phenomena; Pep Bands asking Latinos if they have Green Cards during March Madness and all the way to those Tweet happy Boston Bruins fans out there (Shout out to Tim Thomas. Maybe you should’ve just visited Obama at the White House after all!)
I know this is a loud minority of fans out there, but clearly this behavior starts at home. It doesn’t matter how angry these junior high girls were, somewhere in their homes they got the idea that when you get mad enough you can go after a Black person with a racial slur. And no matter how tough the game is or how serious you are, I don’t know anywhere where that’s considered good sportsmanship.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.