A North Carolina high school was forced to suspend its star basketball player after the student used a racial slur on social media ahead of a state quarterfinals game against a predominately Black team.
That wasn’t the end of the off-court drama, however.
The student, who’s white and plays for Ardrey Kell High School, was booted from the team after school leaders found screenshots of the offensive post, which he uploaded to popular social media app Snapchat, according to The Charlotte Observer. Officials say the player used racial slurs in reference to West Charlotte High School, where minority enrollment is 99 percent.
“About to go f–k up some more n—–s in the hood on Tuesday,” the post read.
School leaders said they learned of the post Monday night after it was captured in a screenshot and shared across other social sites.
“A very swift and appropriate decision was reached to immediately suspend the player indefinitely,” Kell basketball coach Mike Craft said in a statement. “The player will not be with the team or at the game. The individual comments that were made are not representative of the values of our program, the AK school community, or the expectations we have of our student-athletes.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said the matter is under investigation.
However, things took a turn Tuesday after the emergence of a second Snapchat post from a West Charlotte player allegedly threatening to shoot the Ardrey Kell player who’d made the initial racist post, The Observer reported. The only difference was, the alleged retaliatory post was doctored.
“Our students had nothing to do with that,” West Charlotte Principal Dr. Timisha Barnes-Jones told the Observer during Tuesday’s game. “It looked exactly like the (original post from the Ardrey Kell player) but with a bit of a word switch.”
West Charlotte basketball coach Jacoby Davis said the authorities were called and on their way to the unnamed player’s home before school officials intervened and convinced police that the post was inauthentic.
“Everybody had my back,” the player, who deleted his social media and had never even seen the offending post said. “West Charlotte had my back. Of course, they knew I didn’t say that.”
Tuesday’s game was scheduled to be played at West Charlotte, however, a decision by the N.C. High School Athletic Association forced the game to be moved to nearby Vance High School after the association claimed West Charlotte’s gym was too small to host the game. The decision was met with backlash from critics who accused Kell fans of being too scared to visit the mostly black, low-income community.
The Charlotte Observer reported that West Charlotte High used a decisive fourth-quarter run to beat Ardrey Kell 69-53 in a tense but peaceful encounter.
“This was not a CMS decision,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said in a statement amid outrage over the change. “The district will share information from NCHSAA as it becomes available on this decision. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools wishes both teams best of luck and celebrates dedicated student-athletes.”
The parents of the unnamed player, who’s ranked among the top 20 in the state, have also spoken out to condemn their son’s racist behavior.
“As a family, we are devastated and so is (the player),” they wrote, in part, in a statement provided to Charlotte station WCNC. “While we stand by our son and love him deeply, we do recognize the wrong and hurt caused by careless words. We do not believe his words represent who he is as a person, his overall character and his heart towards others.”
It continues: “(The player) is ashamed and deeply sorrowful for his word choice. He has met with his teammates, coaches, and principal and personally apologized. There is no excuse for words like this. (He) is firmly aware of that and holds himself accountable for his careless action. We as a family, stand by his suspension, and believe firmly that (the player), our family, and prayerfully, our entire community will grow from this.”
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