Basketball Hoops Taken Down in Springfield, N.J.; Some Scream Racism

CBS New York, August 28, 2012

Young men crowded into town hall on Tuesday night to call foul on officials for effectively squeezing them off the town’s basketball courts.

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For more than a year, basketball players in Springfield Township have been sidelined, forced onto a half court because the town took down hoops at four different parks after neighbors complained about rowdy behavior, CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider reported.

“We got out-of-towners coming here and just me going to the car with my daughters or even taking them for a walk, I got the finger,” Springfield resident Valerie Ahrens told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan on Tuesday.

“Thirty guys hanging around urinating on my front lawn,” resident Bob Thompson added.

“One night there was 38 people there screaming and yelling!  I asked why did I move here?” Sue Bonkowski added.

But a lot of the young people in town said these claims are exaggerated, and now they’re putting on the full-court press to get their hoops back. They’ve launched a Facebook page and they’re venting their frustrations, concerned that people who live around these courts are trying to keep people from other communities out, igniting cries of racism because many of the players are black or Hispanic.

“They see outsiders coming in here and don’t see the changing demographics of our town,” Stephen Sussman said.

“If you looked at me right now out on the basketball court, would you be able to identify me as an out-of-towner?” Justin Grant said.

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