A high school recreational league basketball team has been banned from play after several players placed racially-charged and sexually-explicit words and phrases on their jerseys.
White teen members of a Kings Mills, Ohio, boys basketball team had placed the words “Wet Dream Team” on the front of their jerseys. On the backs, players had racially derogatory names written, including “Knee Grow,” alluding to the n-word, and “Coon,” another racially-insensitive term.
The incident first gained attention after Tony Rue, a parent from the West Clermont School District, posted images and commentary about the names on his Facebook page.
“A Rec league or not, please explain how this is even remotely considered appropriate for a high school basketball game,” Rue wrote.
He also pointed out several instances of disturbing online behavior on the part of team members, furthering the derogatory language on social media.
The players of the team were playing on Sunday when their game was canceled midway through. Referees stopped the game due to the insensitive jerseys, although it’s unclear why the game was allowed to start at all with them on in the first place.
Rue also commented that it wasn’t just the players who were at fault.
“You're talking eight, nine layers of people and adults seeing these jerseys and thinking it's just a joke,” he later said.
Once the jerseys made headlines in local news stories, the rec league suspended the entire team, determining that they didn’t uphold the values that the league had attempted to instill.
“Based on the information that we received, the actions and conduct of the team in question did not comply with our stated mission and expected standards and that team has, therefore, been dismissed from our league,” Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League spokesman Ben Goodyear said in a statement.
There are multiple layers of failure here that need to be addressed. The students failed themselves in writing the words on their jerseys when they should have known better. They in turn were failed by their parents for not being taught how serious their actions were, or in their failure to prevent them from stepping onto the court while wearing the disgraceful uniforms. And the league itself failed in not monitoring more closely their actions in the first place.
We owe it to our children to do better. Individuals aren’t born with hatred, but ignorance on these issues exists because parents or coaches refuse to condemn or even educate these kids. The community learned an important lesson, albeit the hard way, about the need to better inform our children on bigotry and other insensitive actions they should avoid being part of.
Featured image credit: Pixabay, KeithJJ