Whitworth Soccer Players Suspended for One Game After Posing in Blackface

Whitworth women’s soccer team members posing in Blackface in a picture posted online

Whitworth women’s soccer team members posing in Blackface in a picture posted online

A private Christian university in Spokane says five members of the women’s soccer team were suspended from a match after an image posted on Instagram of the players posing in blackface began to circulate on social media.

“In light of the impact that these actions have had on Whitworth and the greater Spokane community, we feel it is in the best interest of all involved to take this action at this time,” head coach, Jael Hagerott said in a statement.  “While their intentions were not malicious, the outcome of their actions was painful for many in our community.  We feel that this punitive response is proportional to their actions.”

Whitworth University says the players were suspended for one game following their actions at an off campus event. The athletics department announced no further disciplinary actions will be taken against the players, although a separate investigation involving student conduct is ongoing.

“As a Christ-centered university that believes in the value of all individuals, we are seeking to use this situation as an opportunity to educate, redeem and restore,” said Whitworth Director of Athletics Tim Demant.

The incident upset many within and outside the Spokane community. The Spokane NAACP issued a statement opposing the practice of blackface.

“The Spokane NAACP insists that it is important that a clear message be sent to the Whitworth students, the Spokane community and the nation at large that it is not acceptable to perpetuate caricatures of African Americans…”

Reactions on social media expressed disappointment not only with the women, but the school as well:

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