Posted on December 26, 2022

High School Football Incidents Spark Racism Talks, Programs

Cliff Brunt, Associated Press, December 22, 2022

Superintendent Torie Gibson felt she had no choice but to make the unpopular decision. When learning Amador High’s football team had a group chat titled, “Kill the Blacks,” filled with derogatory language and racial slurs, she ended the Northern California school’s varsity season.

That meant the 100-year anniversary game between rivals Amador and Argonaut was called off.

“We canceled the football season, and we did it for all the right reasons because the behavior is not acceptable,” said Gibson, who oversees the Amador County Unified School District. “However, football is an extracurricular activity. It is not a given. It is not a right. {snip}”

The discipline was swift and abrupt. Moments before Amador was to play Rosemont — a predominantly Black and Latino school in nearby Sacramento — the game was called off.

There was more fallout. Amador’s football coach, athletic director and principal were put on leave.

In Gibson’s mind, the discipline was the easy part. The hard part will be setting the table for real change, and the key will be presentation. The school is based in a mostly white, rural area an hour’s drive east of Sacramento. Amador has just four Black students out of about 750.


The incident at Amador was one of several alarming examples of racism against Black people that occurred this fall in high school football around the nation. {snip}


A TikTok video created by players at River Valley High School in Yuba City, California, featured a mock slave auction. A social media post circulated showing five white males from West Laurens High School, a central Georgia school a little more than a two-hour drive southeast of Atlanta, at a football game wearing shirts that spelled out a racial slur targeting Black people. And at Guilderland High School in New York, about a half-hour’s drive west of Albany, several classmates showed up to a football game wearing black facepaint, prompting about 100 students to walk out of classes days later.


Gibson, the superintendent in Northern California, feels she has to start with implicit bias work in her district. {snip}


The mock slave auction at River Valley was done as a prank, but there was nothing funny about the repercussions. The varsity football team forfeited the remainder of its season after suspensions left it with too few players to continue.