A middle school football team in Virginia has forfeited the remainder of its season amid fallout over an obscene locker room video showing white players simulating sex acts on their Black teammates and shouting racist remarks.
The clip, posted to social media app Snapchat sometime last week, has prompted action from Short Pump Middle School leaders after Black players were allegedly pinned down in the locker room before practice, local station WWBT reported. Now, police are investigating.
“What’s up with you and the Blacks?,” one student asks in the video.
The footage starts with a caption that reads, “Ever wonder what happens in the football locker room?” and shows the white players pretending to rape the black players as they lean on top of them on benches and the floor.
“What’s going on? He’s f—–g a Black!,” the students are heard saying. Another caption reading “[we’re] gonna f–k the Black outta these African-American children from Uganda,” was placed over the video.
Outrage over the incident was almost immediate, as concerned parents questioned why they first learned of the video in a news story published last Wednesday, The Richmond Times Dispatch reported. School officials said they were made aware of the clip Monday, Oct. 16, and police began their investigation that Tuesday.
In a letter to the Henrico County Schools community, the School Board announced that the football team’s reaming games would be forfeited but that practices would continue. Now, a mandatory component of practices will include “discussions that focus on reporting responsibilities, accountability, ethics, sexual harassment and racial tolerance.” Leaders said they’re also developing a plan to prevent such incidents from happening again.
According to Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks, the middle school football team only had one regular-season game and two postseason games left in its season.
“There is no place in HCPS for the kind of behavior portrayed in the video,” school board members wrote Friday, Oct. 20. “We have extremely high expectations, and students who fail to meet the Code of Student Conduct standards will be addressed promptly and appropriately.”
Many parents said they are glad to see the school taking steps to address the incident, but some feel more still needs to be done. Lorraine Wright of the Virginia-based “I Vote for Me” human rights organization told WWBT that her group plans to file a federal complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.
“Clearly, the intent was to dehumanize the [boys] of color, and that’s something we can’t sweep under the rug and mischaracterize as ‘offensive and wrong’ because it was way beyond that,” she said.
Authorities are still working to determine if the Black students in the video were in on the tasteless joke or if they were being held and recorded against their will.
Henrico County School officials didn’t return our requests for comment.