An Ohio youth basketball coach upset over his team’s removal from a local rec league after players were seen sporting racist jerseys has asked league officials for a refund.
Coach Walt Gill, leader of the self-dubbed “Wet Dream Team,” and his players were banned by the Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League following complaints about their jerseys, which had racial slurs like “knee grow” and “coon” printed on the backs of them. In emails obtained by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Gill told league officials he didn’t feel the situation was handled correctly.
The coach added that no one had complained to him directly about the racist and sexually suggestive names, insisting they were only variations of players’ surnames. League officials weren’t buying it, however, and decided to remove Gill’s team anyway.
“With that, I am going to ask that 65 percent of the money we spent be returned to my team and their parents,” he wrote in an email. “I wish you luck in your league.”
League spokesman Been Goodyear, who informed players and parents of the team’s banishment this week, said he was taken aback by Gill’s response.
“I just could not believe that any adult would want to argue or try to justify this behavior,” Goodyear told the newspaper.
The spokesman said he also had this “fiery” response to the coach’s refund request.
“Sir, you can discuss payment with your coordinator,” he wrote in his email to Gill. “Coon is a racist term not a variation of (the juvenile’s name).”
Issues over the jerseys came to a head during a game Sunday night when the team was ejected from the court in its very first road game, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. A parent from the opposing team, Tony Rue, had complained. It wasn’t long before the “Wet Dream Team” was booted from the league entirely.
“It wasn’t, ‘Hey, we made a mistake, this was kids being kids,’ ” Rue said. “There was no shock from them on what our issue was.”
A volunteer organization coordinator with the Kings Knights 7-12 said that Gill ran the team name past her, but never asked about the names on the backs of the players’ jerseys. She said Gill also didn’t have permission to use the name “Wet Dream Team,” but did anyway.
The local rec league has since implemented a new review process to ensure similar incidents don’t happen in the future.