Football players on a Northern Virginia high school team say they were subjected to racial slurs and were spit upon during a recent game, leading to a bench-clearing incident late in the fourth quarter.
The confrontation took place during a varsity game between Wakefield (Arlington Count, Virginia) and Marshall (Fairfax County, Virginia) on March 5.
“An incident did occur between Marshall and Wakefield high schools where Marshall players used racial slurs at the Wakefield football team,” Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia confirmed to ARLnow.com. “The Wakefield administration as well as other APS officials have been in contact with Marshall High School, (Virginia High School League) officials and the referee association about this incident,”
Video of the altercation was shared on social media by Wakefield lineman Javell Edge, who said in the post: "A white player from Marshall spits on a black male from my team results in a fight that could have been prevented."
I go to Wakefield high . We went to Marshall I school . Yes we were mad because we were losing but we wanted the game to end and go home. A white player from Marshall spits on a black male from my team results in a fight that could have been prevented. Share this video. pic.twitter.com/Pt3lHibygP
Three players on the Wakefield team were suspended for three games as a result of the incident, but the suspensions were reduced to one game in accordance with VHSL guidelines, ARLnow reports.
Two Wakefield players — Lukai Hatcher and Izaiah Lang — leveled allegations of racial slurs, taunts, spitting and more in statements they shared on social media.
“We also experienced unfair treatment by each of the refs and were harassed from the sidelines by coaches and Marshall parents,” they said. They also alleged this wasn't the first time that Marshall's athletic teams have demonstrated such behavior.
Wakefield principal Chris Willmore called the situation "unacceptable," and said "the adults who were responsible failed” the Wakefield players.
“The administrative team and I are outraged by the blatant acts of racism our players were subjected to during the game and that the officials did nothing to intervene despite our urging and even after our coaches signaled them to the behavior multiple times during the contest, allowing the situation to escalate,” Willmore wrote in a letter to parents.
In response, Fairfax County Public Schools said in a statement it “does not accept acts of intolerance” and that it is working with the school, the administration and coaches from both teams to address the incident.
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