Dan Galli covers sports for the ABC affiliate in Motown. The season opener between two high school powerhouses had to be stopped twice because of large scale racial violence at the game.
One player jumped over a fence and hid in his car. Other players sought protection on the ground, lying on the field. So did cheerleaders.
School officials said there was no gun. No gun shots. And the fights weren’t that big of a deal either. It was just a few troublemakers, said Galli.
But the video tells a different story. So do spectators. So do cops.
“I was there watching the game,” said one fan at a local sports website. “First I heard there was a gun drawn, then a girl who was near the incident said there wasn’t a gun, but someone shouted ‘GUN’ and everyone freaked out. People started running and hopping the fences, but then returned. Not 15 minutes later, same thing.”
It was chaos. But two weeks later, Galli and police officials were hoping everyone would forget that black mob violence is a regular feature of life in Detroit. Says Galli:
“A high school football game was played in Detroit Friday night. A crowd of roughly a thousand people watched one of the best teams in the United States win handily. For once, what didn’t happen is worth pointing out.”
When racial violence becomes the norm, then by definition, it is no longer newsworthy.
This has been a busy season for racial violence and lawlessness at high school football games across the country. That includes players, fans and coaches.
In Springfield, Ohio, if you listened to most of the local media and school officials, you might wonder what all the fuss was about: Three high school girls got into a fight over a boy, says the local reporter.
That’s it. That’s it?
Then why the press conference announcing suspensions? Why a TV news story at all?
“Additional police officers had to be called to the stadium to help calm the situation.”
You would never know from this news account. The fact that 300 black people threw rocks and bottles at 35 police officers did not seem that important to many in the local media. Most focused on the three girls. Not the 300 rioters.
The Springfield News-Sun figured that part out, at least:
“Officers tried to separate the combatants and basically they were surrounded by about 300 people and things just started getting out of control,” a police spokesman said.
At a recent high school game on the South Side of Chicago, one TV reporter described “an epic fight” involving more than 100 black people. According to the Sun-Times,
“Craig Scott, 17, a senior at Morgan Park, saw a handful of teens talking at the top of the stands during the game. “We overheard them say they were looking for somebody, to beat somebody up,” he said. A fight broke out, and people panicked, he said. “Everybody sort of dispersed. It was very terrifying.” He said he saw some people get “trampled” and he heard gunshots outside the stadium after the game.
One person was stabbed. Others reported gunfire. Police said there was no gunfire but the game was cancelled nevertheless. Afterward, a TV news crew saw large crowds of black people fighting and refusing police orders to disburse to leave.
Last year, a mob attack in Georgia set the bar for school violence at football games: A group of 30 to 50 black people including players, attacked an opposing coach after a game; striking him in the face with their helmets. He required extensive surgery to his face.
Just a few weeks ago in Long Island, New York, an October high school football game was suspended after gun shots and a stab wound interrupted the action. One black student told the CBS affiliate radio station:
“It’s not, like, unexpected, like, we knew there were going to be, like, gangs here and stuff, so I don’t know. I don’t really want to talk about it.”
The list of racial violence and official denial goes on and on. In Charleston, S.C., large groups of black people were menacing spectators both in and out of a recent game between two predominately black schools. So much so the game was canceled.
A few days later, administrators said there was no violence. No nothing. Nothing happened. Most of the media shrugged their shoulders and said “Sounds close enough to me.”
But at least one local outlet tried to describe what really happened. An off duty police officer reported large groups of black people were “bum rushing” police officers, i.e. charging them as if to attack.
Clearly the police on the scene thought something was going on in this video.